Microsoft Edge, the web browser that replaced Internet Explorer with the release of Windows 10, has been given a dramatic overhaul over the past year or so to be updated on the same source code based on Google Chrome. Today, Microsoft Edge new version, based on Google’s Chromium, was officially launched on Windows and on macOS.
Microsoft confirmed rumors late in 2018 that the company is restoring the Microsoft Edge browser on Chromium, Google’s open source Chrome foundation. The reason given at that time was for Edge to be able to offer “improved compatibility” over the current EdgeHTML browser engine. The announcement placed Microsoft Edge in liga with other browsers based on Chromium such as Vivaldi and Brave.
Microsoft, via The Verge, is officially releasing the new Chromium based Microsoft Edge after over a year of development work and public beta tests. Although Microsoft Edge was initially exclusive to Windows 10 in its original form, rebuilding on Chromium has helped to open up more platforms for the browser. Microsoft Edge for macOS and all existing versions of Windows can be updated today.
There’s even a version available for Windows 7, despite the fact that Windows 7 reached the end of existence earlier this week. This is, no doubt, thanks to Google’s own commitment to supporting Google Chrome on Windows 7 until July 2021.
These new mobile platforms are continuing the work already done to bring Android and iOS to Microsoft Edge. Edge uses the preferred / required browser engine of the platform on those platforms, with a layer of additional Microsoft features including sync.
If you’re a Chrome fan but not a Google fan for whatever reason, Microsoft Edge might be your browser. All browsers have much in common including the ability to sync your browsing history and more between devices. One key difference is that you trust Microsoft, instead of Google, with that knowledge.
The similarities are even more significant than that, with the new Microsoft Edge being able to use almost all of the same extensions Google Chrome can use. Sadly, that also means that the coming controversial changes to how Chrome extensions can and can’t work, collectively known as Manifest V3, will affect Microsoft Edge.
Where Edge sets itself apart from Chrome is built-in tracking protections that help you preserve privacy by default and useful features such as collections that allow you to easily arrange web pages and images.
As of today, you can choose to download and install Edge as an optional program just like any other alternative browser like Chrome or Firefox. What will add some stopping power to Microsoft’s new browser is when the latest Edge becomes the default built-in Windows 10 browser.
Verge states that the latest Edge has already been given to OEMs, meaning new Windows 10 devices will start appearing pre-installed with Edge. In offering users out of the box a competent cross-platform browser, there is a chance that people may no longer feel the need to install Chrome instantly, as the jokes go.
In addition, Microsoft is starting to push this new version of Edge to Windows 10 users through Windows Update over the next few months. This rollout will occur slowly until a full wider release happens in summer.