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Microsoft Unleashes the Spartans

Microsoft Unleashes the Spartans

It’s not available quite yet, but Microsoft has offered the cyber world a sneak peak of its new “Spartan” web browser. The company insists the updated software is not a “replacement” for Internet Explorer…but everyone else has accepted the obvious. IE is dead. Of course, ask the rapidly growing number of Internet users opting for Chrome or Firefox, and that’s old news.

So, what, if anything, is “new” about Spartan? How has Microsoft responded to changing consumer trends without, specifically, admitting a need to make any changes?

Well, you may have already guessed the browser takes a cue from its namesake. No, it doesn’t come wrapped in a loincloth and carrying a massive bronze shield, but it does cut a rather trim profile and offer comparably few bells and whistles. Think bare bones connectivity and easy to use features.

But, regardless of the stripped down nature of the program, Spartan is much, much (ad nauseum) better than IE. Microsoft is clearly banking on shock value to generate some user-to-user marketing.

So, what’s different? Well, for starters, Spartan is fast. Video delay is a thing of the past (unless your connection is terrible), and website load speeds are faster than IE could ever hope to achieve.

Probably the coolest feature is the ability to “write” on the screen, taking notes right on the web page. Circle, highlight scribble in the margins…turn any webpage into your personal textbook. When finished you can send cropped screenshots straight to your OneNote app for further review or quick referral.

Another great feature—reading mode. Imagine being able to click on a button and make all the ads disappear. Yes, that’s exactly what happens. And, yes, Safari already does that, but can we take a moment and appreciate Microsoft responding to consumer concerns?

It also offers Cortana…but you expected that, right?

Are there a few things that take some getting accustomed to? Certainly. Chief among them may be the disappearing nav bar. Similar to the trick that Apple’s dock can play on users in a certain setting, the nav bar in Spartan disappears when you are not using the mouse.

And there are a few things – browser extensions for example – that the program does not have yet but promises to have in the future. So…what about it, are you planning to try Spartan?

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