While most of us are waiting for a successor to Windows 10 build 9926, the folks at WinBeta managed to secure some time with the pre-release build -- one that happens to include Microsoft's much-anticipated Spartan Web browser. While there's not a whole lot that's new to glean from this preview, there are many hints that Spartan could in fact become a serious contender in the browser market.
As covered before, Microsoft's AI assistant Cortana will integrate with Spartan to help improve user browsing. Because the feature is so well hidden until you use it, you don't actually have to opt-in -- you can just take advantage of it if you want to. It's a very clean design overall, and while I hate to say it, the browser itself seems to take many visual cues from Windows 8 (such as the slide-out right pane).
While browsing, you'll be able to ask Cortana a question through voice or normal UI interaction. WinBeta says that the Cortana feature will officially be called "Ask Cortana", and such an option will become available in the context menu when something on a webpage is highlighted.
Take this scenario, as an example: You're reading an article, and the author through their sapience deems it appropriate to use abstruse wording despite reader remonstrance to such rodomontade - something that happens to be a personal pet peeve of mine.
Nonetheless, should you encounter such an imbecilic author, you can simply right-click the challenging word, and click on "Ask Cortana", at which point the pane will slide out and give you the word's definition.
At this point, it's been about a month since Spartan first appeared in a developer-only build of Windows 10, so we can hope that a fresh public build is right around the corner. It's not that 9926 is poor by any stretch, but when we know that Spartan is on the horizon, it's pretty hard to not feel anxious for it to land.