If you’ve ever used the internet, you’re probably familiar with the downfall of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. There is still heavy baggage associated with the “e” logo that carries its name. Now, with the help of Google, Microsoft is rebuilding its Edge browser project, and it comes with some pretty nifty features.
Edge first hit the market in 2015, and now, four years later, nothing much has changed. It came with several advantages and disadvantages. But there weren’t enough people using it. Most people chose to use Chrome or other browsers instead. However, Microsoft’s browser team believed the problems weren’t just technical, nor were they insurmountable.
So Microsoft is teaming up with Google to rebuild the Edge browser with the help of the same Chromium foundation blocks that support Google Chrome. Chromium is a web browser that works like Chrome, except that it’s an open-source project. That means the code which is used to build Chrome is freely available for users to modify. The same source code forms the basis of the Chrome web browser, thus the similarity between Chromium and Chrome.
During the Build 2019 Developer Conference, Microsoft provided a glimpse of what its new browser has to offer. Here are some details about the latest Microsoft Edge:
You Can Call It a Comeback for Microsoft in Browser Wars
Microsoft’s switch to the Chromium browser engine (and the Blink rendering engine it uses) makes sense for a myriad of reasons. Every time you visit a web page, a browser engine has to transform the HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) code into a format that you can understand. Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all use different engines to achieve this. Getting rid of the EdgeHTML and switching to Blink means web developers no longer need to do all the extra work to make sure their sites work in Chrome and Edge. That also means that the new Microsoft browser is compatible with more devices – even those running older versions of Windows and macOS.
One of the most significant upsides of this is that Edge now has access to the vast extension library of Chrome. Equipped with Blink, Edge is now in the same league as other major browsers. Some of the features in Edge may even end up in Chrome eventually.
Microsoft Edge Vs Chrome
Although it was built with the same underlying engine as Chrome, and Google engineers worked on both Chrome and Edge, Edge is not the same as Google’s browser. Like in Chromium, Edge developers have the freedom to adapt projects to their own needs and keep out some of the extras Google pitched in.
In Edge, for example, many Chrome services have been dropped out, or are subject to be replaced using Microsoft’s code. Google Play and Google Now have been dropped. The link to Chrome OS, Google’s DNS service, Google Maps, Android password Sync, Google Drive, and Google Cloud Print have also been left out.
Other features like ad blocking, safe browsing, and translate are also not part of the mix, but you can expect Microsoft to build its services back.
Microsoft Edge For Mac and iOS?
When developers say Edge now comes with improved compatibility, they mean it’s coming to macOS. While there’s no official date for its release yet, there is a Reddit thread that has the early Canary build for macOS. But until Microsoft confirms it, you may run it at your own risk.
The difference between using Edge on a Windows computer and a Mac should be minimal. You can also download the Edge mobile app for Android and iOS and sync browsing data across all devices too.
The implementation of Chromium in Edge has been good, so far. Early users have noticed certain performance improvements with Edge in Windows. But it remains unclear if those same improvements will extend to macOS. At least this gives Mac users another option, along with sync integration and the convenient Microsoft services.
If you have an older computer, make sure to check out our list of the best browsers for slow computers.