A number of recent reports have suggested that Microsoft was ready to move past Internet Explorer and introduce a new browser, code-named Spartan, to the world. Now, Microsoft has made that official by announcing that Project Spartan will be the new web browsing experience for Windows 10. The new browser will feature an all-new rendering engine, but beyond that Microsoft wanted to focus on three new features, some of which we learned about earlier this year.
Chief among those new features is new inking support that lets users annotate web pages and sync all of those notes to OneDrive and share them with collaborators — a service that makes a ton of sense given Microsoft's focus on the stylus with its Surface lineup. Microsoft demonstrated this feature heavily in its demo (even mocking up a Verge article about Project Spartan's new features). Beyond pen-like note-taking features, you can also click anywhere on a page and add comments and annotations, much like in Office documents.
There's also a new reading mode that strips away the clutter of a page and makes it more like reading a book — it's a feature that Apple has offered for a while in Safari on both the Mac and on iOS devices, and we're definitely glad to see it make its way to another browser now. There's also a reading list that syncs across all your devices, much like Pocket, Instapaper, and the Reading List already found in Safari.
Naturally, Cortana will be integrated into Project Spartan, as well. It'll pop up on relevant pages where Cortana can be useful — for example, if you're on a restaurant's webpage, Cortana will be right there to give you directions, show you its hours and contact info, and link you out to Open Table for a reservation. It also can easily pull up things like flight reservations — if you type "Delta" in the address bar, it'll know if you have a flight booked and can show your the details.
All in all, Project Spartan looks like a nice step forward for Microsoft's web browsing experience, though there aren't any details yet on whether the browser will support extensions, as rumored. It's also not clear if Project Spartan will become the next Internet Explorer or whether its browser will finally be rebranded — we'll have to wait until we get closer to the launch of Windows 10 to know for sure.