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March 30, 2015

Introducing Project Spartan: The New Browser Built for Windows 10

Today I’m excited to share more details about “Project Spartan,” the new browser we are introducing in Windows 10. Project Spartan will be available across the Windows 10 device family. It is fast, compatible, and built for the modern Web. Project Spartan is designed to work the way you do, with features enabling you to do cool things like write or type on a webpage. It’s a browser that is made for easy sharing, reading, discovery and getting things done online.

Project Spartan:  Inking up your websites!

We first shared details about Project Spartan on January 21, and it’s been really gratifying to see so much interest and excitement for our new browser. Today, we’re excited to announce that Project Spartan is available for the first time for Windows Insiders to try out as part of the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview build for PCs. You can read more about the new Windows 10 Technical Preview build here, or check it out by joining the Windows Insider Program.

What to expect

In this preview, you will see a bold new design for Project Spartan – one that is streamlined and puts the focus on the page, not the browser. This is part of our vision for a browser that doesn’t visually interfere with your life on the Web, but supports it.  You will also see some of the features that we demo’ed back in January and we hope you’ll love them.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s in this build—though keep in mind all these features are still in an early, incomplete state:

  • Cortana is built-in and ready to assist: Cortana in Project Spartan is a personal assistant that helps make Web browsing easier for you, with whatever you’re trying to get done. Cortana offers help at just the right moment, based on what she knows about the Web, about you and what you might be trying to do. She remains in the background but provides additional information when you need it, making browsing easier and more efficient. Cortana in Spartan will be available in the US versions of this build, and available more broadly later.
  • Inking and sharing so you can capture and communicate your thoughts: Everyone uses the Web routinely to share questions, thoughts, info and comments with friends and colleagues. Now with new inking capabilities, Project Spartan enables you to write or type directly on the page, comment on what’s interesting or clip what you want – then easily share this “Web Note” via mail, or a social network. Researching and collecting information from the Web is just as easy, as you can save your notes directly to OneNote.
  • Distraction-free reading with Reading List and Reading View: Keeping up with information overload on the Web is one of the challenges that we all have to manage.  Project Spartan helps with a beautiful new Reading List to collect everything you want to read, including the ability to save any webpage or PDF for convenient access later, and an integrated, distraction-free Reading View that keeps you focused on the content.
  • A new engine for the modern Web: Project Spartan’s new rendering engine is built around the idea that the Web “just works,” while being fast, more secure and more reliable. As we shared in our recent developer workshop, we made some changes to the rendering engine that you will see in this build.

It’s important to note we’ll have more features and many improvements coming to Project Spartan before we make it broadly available. This preview is NOT a polished, ready-for-everyone release. For Windows Insiders, we’re excited to make Project Spartan available for your feedback, only a short time after we made it available for use internally at Microsoft.

Why “Project Spartan”

As we started building Project Spartan, we took a hard look at everything we were doing with the browser – from the way we engineered it, to the way we designed the user experience, to the way we approached compatibility and interoperability, to the way we interacted with our customers and Web developers, to the way we released it.

This led us to believe we needed to step forward into a new era of browsing at Microsoft. To build a browser that is designed for the modern Web – a browser for people that have grown up with the Web; who have integrated the Web into their lives in incredible and unexpected ways; who are no longer just exploring a new frontier, but are using the Web to get things done. After all, the world we live in is evolving, the Web is evolving, and our needs are evolving.

This led us to embrace the following design tenets, which you will see come to life in the product, both now and in the months ahead:

  • First, be an amazing browser – Browsers have been part of our computing experience long enough that core ideas about what a browser does and doesn’t do are fairly well-defined. Project Spartan has to deliver on what you expect from a browser – fast, more secure, reliable, power efficient – in the ways that you expect it (tabs, address bar, and so on).
  • Be bold and forward-looking –we recently talked about how we reexamined our assumptions about compatibility and interoperability, and how we made the decision to build a new rendering engine designed for the modern Web. You will see this tenet come to life in many ways in Project Spartan.
  • Ship fast, try new things, learn and always get better – Along with the rest of Windows 10, Project Spartan will be regularly updated, and the team is engaging with customers and partners closely to tune and update plans.

At the same time, we recognize that for some of our enterprise customers, it’s important they have the support they need and can continue to use Internet Explorer when and where they need it. This is why we will continue to make it easy for our enterprise customers to make Internet Explorer 11 the default browser via group policy. Internet Explorer 11 is supported on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 for all customers, also providing a consistent platform that’s great for enterprise Web apps.

Just as we’ve seen this emergence of a more personal computing era reshape the way we think about computing, we’re seeing that extend to the concept of browsing and what it means in this modern world. Today’s a new day, and we’re proud to be part of this shift in thinking, where you will ultimately define the browsing experience—as it becomes more personal, more natural, more intuitive and more interactive.

Keep the Feedback Coming

This is just the beginning for Project Spartan. We can’t wait to get more and more of you trying it out and to get your feedback. This is a journey we’re on together and we look forward to working with you to shape the future of browsing. You’ll find us particularly easy to reach. Right on the Project Spartan toolbar is a smiley face you can use to send us feedback quickly and easily. You can also use the Windows Feedback tool right on the Start Menu to see and vote on feedback that others have submitted (as well as submit your own comments).

You can also find us on the new Project Spartan uservoice forum for desktop.

Thanks for reading and checking out Project Spartan!