Microsoft released the first Chromium-based Edge version on January 15, 2020. The new Microsoft Edge Browser is based on the Chromium open source project, which makes it similar to Google Chrome in that regard. In 2018, Microsoft announced plans to switch to Chromium after the Edge web browser released in 2015 failed to make much progress by the end of 2017. Google Chrome has recently solidified its position as the de facto default browser on desktops. Google Chrome holds 62.27% of the market, while Microsoft Edge holds just 2.3%, according to Statcounter.
This challenged Microsoft to change its Edge browser in a big way. Therefore, it decided to forego any further development of its own browser engine in favor of switching to the Chromium platform. It was a big undertaking, and after over a year of testing, the new Microsoft Edge Browser is finally ready.
Microsoft claims that this new Microsoft Edge browser is twice as fast as the one it replaces. Thanks to the Chromium platform, which it now runs on. Chromium is a free and open-source web browser project developed by Google. The Chromium platform powers Google Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, etc.
The new Microsoft Edge browser brings support for Chrome extensions, user profiles, and faster web browsing. Edge syncs passwords, favorites, and settings across devices, just like Google Chrome does. If you install the new Microsoft Edge browser on Windows 10, it can automatically grab your Windows account. It also allows you to import content from your current browser like bookmarks without modifying the formatting. The new Microsoft Edge has extra features like Collections that allows you to collate images and content from the web and also allows you to prevent tracking in three levels. Edge promises the quick browsing experience users have come to expect from Chrome without as much tracking.
How to download Microsoft’s new Edge browser
This first stable build is Microsoft Edge 79 (because they are using Chromium versioning). Microsoft Edge 80 is set to land in February and regular updates arriving every six weeks from then on. Users of Windows 10 will see the new Microsoft Chromium-based Edge browser pushed to them automatically as an update in the coming weeks. This will fully replace the existing built-in browser. The company is very keen on this process by bringing the new Edge browser gradually to groups of Windows 10 users through Windows Update before it’s fully rolled out to everyone.
If you are interested, Edge is available from Microsoft’s official page and is compatible with macOS, iOS, and Android, as well as Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and even Windows 7.
Microsoft chose Chromium codebase because compatibility is the key. Chromium offers instant web compatibility. In 2105 Microsoft rolled out Edge browser to replace Internet Explorer, which was deemed slow and hence less competitive in the web browser industry. Recently, Google Chrome has emerged as the best web browser and thus dominating the market. In 2020, Microsoft launches the new Edge browser in efforts to restore the healthy browser competition and prevent Google chrome from becoming the new Internet Explorer 6.
Well, the success of the new Microsoft Chromium-based Edge browser depends on whether web developers will fully embrace it and fierce competitors like Google. It is a good thing to see two tech giants competing to make the web better. In the end, internet users will get a better web browser.