During Microsoft's consumer-focused Windows 10 press conference today, the company created something that many of us have been waiting for, a Microsoft alternative to Internet Explorer — Meet (codename) Spartan.
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore gave us a quick tour of the new browser. One of the coolest modes was note-taking mode, which sounds exactly what you'd think. You can draw directly on the webpage, which captures the images, and also collaborate with others.
The next mode is specifically for reading. You can rearrange web view to make them easier to read however you'd like. You can also curate a Reading List that will sync across phones and tablets. Think of all the "will read later" services out there, such as Instapaper (etc.), but baked right into the browser.
But that's not the only baked-in feature. Cortana will also be built right into Spartan. Cortana will pop into the address bar and fill in information it thinks you're searching for. For example, Belfiore only typed in "Delta" and it brought up any related flight information right into the address bar. And if you're looking for specific information on restaurants or cinema or whatever, Cortana will also pop in a side window, providing all the information you'd need (shown below) after mining information from the webpage.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest rumours about Spartan, that it would support Chrome extensions, made no appearance Microsoft's event. Also, it's still uncertain if Spartan will be unfettered from Windows-based hardware. Unfortunately, we won't be able to get a closer look at Spartan for another "3, 4, or 5 months" for insiders, and much later than that for phones.