Introducing sidebar search in Microsoft Edge

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Microsoft

Hello Insiders! We have heard your feedback and are excited to announce sidebar search - the first step in our evolution of contextual search in the new Microsoft Edge. 

 

Sidebar search builds off the foundation we began with "Ask Cortana" in the previous version of Microsoft Edge and addresses feedback we received when "Ask Cortana" didn't meet your needs.

 

With sidebar search, you can highlight a word or phrase, right click, and select “Search in sidebar” from the context menu. Search results show up in a pane on the right side of the page showing you web results like definitions, web links, images, videos and many more Bing services which are related to the query.

 

We have added some new features to improve relevance and to provide user requested functionality that was absent in "Ask Cortana". In addition to the web results, you now see image and video verticals which show results related to the highlighted word or phrase. If you are signed into your azure active directory account at work, you can now see company results.

 

Sidebar search is a persistent pane in the tab in which it was opened, which gives you the option to close the pane or look up additional information related to other words using the search box. There’s more – if you want a full view of web results, you can now click on the “Open in new tab” button which opens the web results in a new tab.

 

You can expect to see sidebar begin to roll out in Microsoft Edge Dev and Canary channels very soon!

 

mayusuf_1-1589991666536.png

 

Thanks - Microsoft Edge Search team

 

 

 

 

67 Replies
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@mayusuf 

That is great news. I would like to see it in Beta soon too. Did you think about customization? For example user can decide if search will be opened in new tab or sidebar?

 

It can be redundant or confusing for some users to have two different options for the same think with different only displayed location. Feature called "Ask Cortana" was almost the same, but the name was nicer for the users. Especially in countries where "Cortana" is badly supported this feature was working like this new "search in sidebar", example county is Poland or Czech Republic.

 

Meantime, I am worry about size of context menu. It is yet another position added. I hope we will not repeat mistake from Internet Explorer where context menu was extremally fast growing. I loved in Edge that browser started with very compact context menu and there are only essential options. Some users I seen with 10-20 items in context menu in IE and older versions of IE. Where most of them never used like print or print preview under right click.

 

Example attached.

 

image002-733184

 
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@mayusuf 

 

That's great news, can't wait to see it online. Would the new side bar also cover the ability to "find on page", this would be a big improvement for searching specific sites  for content.

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Hi @matt_bits , yes, I agree re: overcrowded contextual menu. I can't remember a time when I didn't have the attached in the menu, but I have no idea what they are. I assume they are for developers? It would great to be able to toggle certain elements to choose whether or not they appear in the menu. 

 

Pete_FFC_0-1590006104619.png

 

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@mayusuf I, for one, am so happy to see this. I loved Ask Cortana in legacy Edge because it gave you quick access to some relevant search about something in a webpage without navigating away from that webpage. That is what made it great. It doesn't really matter if it's powered by Cortana or not. Can't wait to try this out in the preview builds. Thank you guys. Sidebar search is yet another standout feature for Edge.

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I would just point out that the context menu is much shorter when something on the page is selected, as will be the case when using Sidebar search.
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Since this seems to replace Ask Cortana in the current version of Edge, will the other Cortana features make their way into Chromium Edge?
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i agree and it makes right click too large
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Hi @matt_bits 

 

There is already an options which opens search in new tab.

Just select a word, right click and choose "Search the web for ...".

 

ph_007_0-1590057060587.png

 

I also totally agree with you when it comes to the context menu. There are already options which are also in the ... (three dots) menu, e.q. Print and I would also remove "Open in Immersive Reader", because it can be accessed by the button in the address bar.

The toggle, mentioned by @Pete_FFC , for developers could be integrated into the F12 DevTools.

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@mayusuf 

I really love the feature, I used this feature a lot in Legacy Edge. I would like to suggest in this feature that can we have the option to double-click a word and search that word in sidebar. This would make things easier to search words in sidebar.

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@Neon01 

Good news! You can now find words or phrases on a webpage. Use shortcut Crtl+G on your keyboard 
and a popup will come below the right end of the address bar and you can type word or phrase to find it on the page.

2020-05-21.png

 

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@mayusuf 

 

Woot, just tried out this sidebar search feature and it is great.. I Love it!! Thanks Team for another great addon feature!!

Annotation 2020-05-21 143335.jpg

Annotation 2020-05-21 143411.jpg

 

Dennis5mile

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@theshaunsaw 

 

Thanks, but that's what I'm using already.

The problem with the Find Popup is that it closes anytime you go to a new page, so searching within a site with multiple pages (1, 2, 3 etc.) is a mess, as you always have to reopen the Find Popup again.

It would be a big improvement if the find input-field stayed open (like in Edge Legacy) or even better if it would be part of the side bar, so you can easily switch between the different occurrences of your finds on this page (the up/down arrows are not very helpful if you have let's say 25 or more hits).

I think of a solution like the find sidebar in MS Word where all finds are listed. Imagine a large webpage (e.g. a whitepaper) where you have to find certain keywords or phrases and constantly need to switch between them to get a job done. 

 

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Hi  @Neon01 . For me the Find Popup stays open even when I go to another page on the same website, and when I switch between tabs.

 

BTW, I'm still not seeing the option to search in sidebar. I just got updated to Version 84.0.523.0.

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@mayusuf 

 

Thank you for sharing.

 

There is one of the feature I missed from Internet Explorer which is Accelerator and I added Accelerator for the following:

 

Bing Map

Bing Translator   

Send Email

 

I believe sidebar search could be smart in integrate with Bing and let say , if my default language for Microsoft Edge is English and I select text in Spanish, automatically show its translation (it should be general detection based on any language with Microsoft Edge and check default one and the select text one)

 

For the map, from the type of text it should be o detect the location and this could be integrate smart into the Bing.

 

Such a thing could be expand and become smart integration with Bing and let say it has Currency convertor, math , etc. when user select a text and do a search. More research should be done on this and you could get help from insiders like us.

 

As for send mail feature, it was like you select text and then you select send with Windows Live, it would open Windows Live Mail (today it is Outlook.com) and compose new email and add text into it. This is different story and there is need for different discussion about emails and Microsoft Edge.

 

However, my point is , it shouldn't be just a search instead it should be smart search to show result based on what has been searched and not just list of websites.

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@mayusuf I really like the sidebar so far! I've run into a few problems though.

1. I have to scroll left and right sometimes because the page doesn't fit in the sidebar. An easy fix would be to render code in the sidebar in mobile mode.

2. I can't close the sidebar. The only way to get out of it is to do Ctrl+K and close the tab with the sidebar in it.

3. There is way to go back to the previous page, for example if I hit the wrong link, I have to open the sidebar and do everything again.

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@mayusuf If Microsoft Edge ships with this crap to bloat the context menu, without the settings to turn it off, I'll immediately stop using Edge and return to Google Chrome. 

 

Stop shoving Bing crap into my browser, and stop hijacking my context menu. 

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@phmac That's actually not a bad idea. I remember hearing that this was one of the features in Netscape and one of the biggest reasons Netscape lost to IE was because it was bloated with unnecessary stuff. Edge should have an menu tab labeled something and contain features that could be turned off to speed up the browser.

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Awesome, I was waiting for this basic, yet very important functionality for the very first build of Microsoft Edge (chromium).
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@mayusuf  Eu uso um plugin chamado: 

Search from Popup or ContextMenu (SPC)

E para mim, este plugin é muito, mas muito bom.

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I found this unexpectedly in my Mac Canary build earlier today because I right-clicked to search the web for a highlighted phrase and was DELIGHTED to see the sidebar search available! Thank you! Works exactly as expected (for me) and seems to render search results well.

It did take me a while to notice the floating blue "Open in new tab" button -- I sort of expected an icon near the top right for that -- but now I see it, yup, that's perfect.
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@seancorfield Is everyone else able to close the sidebar once open, because I'm stuck with it until I close the tab.

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Thank you for your feedback about the size of the context menu, @matt_bits  ! We're glad you're giving Sidebar Search a try! We are taking your feedback into consideration as we iterate on the feature.

 

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@cjc2112 Thank you for your feedback! We're glad you're giving Sidebar Search a try.

 

In case you missed it, if you scroll up, you'll see a close button beside the search box. We have also added a right click context menu in sidebar search which includes close and back options. Right now, sidebar search should show only bing pages, please send feedback via the feedback tool in Edge with details on your experience on seeing non-bing web pages in sidebar search. We will look into those cases.

 

Thanks!

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@mayusuf 
Hi I am using version Canary 85.0.538.0
I don't see this feature but I wonder why?
sidebar search in me this feature is not included..
why can't I try this feature?

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@Eko009 I still don't have it. Just updated to 85.0.538.0

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@mayusuf I don't seem to see a x anywhere in the sidebar.

cjc2112_0-1591413475551.png

 

 

 

Edit: i found out how to close it, a right click will bring up an option to close sidebar. Still no X.

 

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@mayusuf 

I am not able to see any option for sidebar search whereas some people can access it. Please tell what to do.

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@Ekansh0202 I think it may be in a/b testing, which would explain why some people can use it and others cant.

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@cjc2112 

Do you have the option?

 

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Hi @Eko009 , we are gradually rolling the feature out to users in Dev and Canary. You should have access to the feature a few weeks.

 

Thanks!

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@Ekansh0202 I have it on one of my devices on Canary and Dev, but am missing it on 2 others.

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Versutus

@Pete_FFC 

 

Hello,  I have to tell you that I am an 83 years old veteran and to spend my time(alone) I like to try software.  I really cannot help you except to say iit works or not, as I really do not master computers.

 You may be better off using someone that is conversant with software.  I really like the sidebar search.  Plus you mentioned something about a Spell Checker that is something I really can use.  I am a francophone but I like english better.  My computer is in English but sometimes I need to send french email.  If the Spell Checker will check spelling inn both languages that would be a really nice tool.

Keep up the good work, you are fantastic, also take care and wear a mask.

 

Regards Maurice Ledoux CD

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Hi @cjc2112 , Thank you for trying out sidebar search and for reporting this. Please can you report this via the Edge feedback and include a full screenshot of the issue. We will be happy to investigate further.

 

Thanks!

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Hi @Versutus 

 

Currently the spell-checker can check a large number of languages, but at the moment what it CAN'T do is automatically detect languages, so you have to change the proofing language manually every time. I have flagged this to Microsoft, so hopefully it will eventually be able to do this.

 

You take care too :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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@mayusufThe issue has been fixed. Another thing I noted was that you can't access web pages in the sidebar besides bing (they open in new tabs), but that brings it closer to what ask Cortana was before, but it was cool to be able to duel search on a tab while it lasted.

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Omg, I missed this feature so much!
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Please enable search with Google

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@mayusuf  Cool, thanks for this nifty tool, I enjoyed it a lot. :lol:

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First: Why Kill "Ask to Cortana"?

Second: I live on Brazil, here bing never works right, so if i can choose Google over Bing on search sidebar, or better yet, make bing better on Brazil. @mayusuf 

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Hi.
Sidebar search was rolled out to the Dev channel today. However it does not work on right clicking text in PDF files.
The context menu certainly does show the option to search in sidebar but it does not work on being clicked.
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@mayusuf 

While I love this feature finally being available, I think the current implementation is jarring and I hope it's just a foundation for a better update in the future. There are in particular three issues that bother me:

1) First of all, I expected the Sidebar to be a flyout menu that stays above the current web page, instead it's the same container used for Collections, that pushes the webpage to the left, which is a very poor solution since it makes me loose focus on what I was reading

2) Once you summon the Sidebar, there's no visual feeback to close it, there's no close button and pressing shortcuts like ESC don't do anything. The only way to close it is to right click on the sidebar and press the Close button from the submenu

3) Using Google as the default search engine produces nasty results in the sidebar: I see the whole Google search page and I have to scroll it horizontally to see the search results. It should instead fit the sidebar width:

SOI_7_0-1593077381611.png

 

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@mayusuf 

Really great feature. I can see me using this a lot. One thought for improvement... when viewing the sidebar results would it be possible to freeze the menu bar for the sidebar? Scrolling down the results in the sidebar is great but, unless there's another way, if a user wishes to close the sidebar they need to scroll back to the top of the sidebar to close it or to filter on image etc.

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@theshaunsaw Why do we need Ctrl+F and Ctrl+G?

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It's likely powered by Cortana but not branded as Cortana.
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Which other others are you reffering to?
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I don't see it yet for me but I look forward to using it soon. I hate Chromes version where it opens a new tab.
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@mayusuf Is this where we leave feedback?

 

I really missed this functionality. Back when it said "Ask Cortana" I was hoping we'd see it as system-wide feature. 

 

FEEDBACK I don't see is having an easier way to open it. At one time MS Word let you CTRL+Double-click (?) a word to open "Smart Lookup". Something similar would be nice here.

 

Bing lets you click a magnifying glass when you highlight a word. Do something similar would help discoverability of the feature.

 

 

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@pbilk 
I don't know that but it would be meant for the accessibility for the users that some users would be using the former one and some the latter one.