Microsoft’s AI-powered Copilot assistant is coming to the Edge browser, the company announced Tuesday. Copilot in Edge uses whatever website the user is currently visiting as context to complete tasks elsewhere — such as in Office documents, Outlook emails, and other places with Microsoft 365 Copilot reach.
For example, if you’re in corporate sales and visiting a potential client’s website, you can ask Copilot in Edge to summarize everything about that lead as discussed in meetings, emails, and chats. Copilot can also suggest to use the information you’re looking at and reply to an email you received from your supervisor about how the lead is coming along.
Microsoft 365 Copilot is the company’s extensive Office digital assistant powered by OpenAI. Think of it like the classic Clippy helper that used to pop up in unwelcome fashion and annoy you with unhandy observations like “it looks like you’re writing a letter.” The difference this time is that Copilot can actually help you draft something fit to send to colleagues or add data to a document. Copilot is similarly using the GPT-4 AI model that powers the new Bing.
The new Edge version of Copilot exists in the browser’s sidebar and can remain active as you browse. Like all of the other Copilot instances, you’re basically interacting with a Bing AI-style dialog box waiting at the ready for you to ask it to do things.
Microsoft’s group product manager for Edge enterprise, Lindsay Kubasik, offered a few examples of how Microsoft 365 Copilot works on Edge in a new blog post:
You can type natural language requests like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy today,” and Microsoft 365 Copilot will generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails and chat threads. In combination with Edge, Microsoft 365 Copilot becomes even more intuitive by following the context of what you’re looking at in the browser to provide better answers. For example, as you’re looking at a file your colleague shared, you can simply ask, “What are the key takeaways from this document?”
Microsoft’s enterprise data protection extends to Microsoft Edge for Business, which will become the standard browser for organizations using Azure AD. Edge for Business can automatically separate work and personal browsing by providing separate windows with separate web caches — thereby protecting enterprise data and excluding personal stuff from syncing back to the company.
Other Edge-related announcements coming out of Microsoft’s Build developers conference include general availability for the tab collaborating Edge Workspaces in the next few months and the now generally available Edge sidebar app development — which helps make progressive web apps work better side by side with your browsing.
Edge will also support the new Microsoft 365 Copilot plug-ins, which can enable experiences where people interact with apps using chatbot prompts. Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently only available in private preview and must be used in conjunction with an Azure AD-based work account. With the addition of Edge, this account requirement remains in effect to “meet existing commitments to data security and privacy in the enterprise,” according to the press release.