After playing around with Internet Explorer and then Edge for a while, Microsoft switched to Chromium to re-design Edge. That re-design has taken a first stable shape today. Available for both Windows and MacOS, it took Microsoft almost quarter of an year to develop the new version after it discarded its own browser and went with the Industry trend of using Chromium browsers.
Microsoft is planning to replace the old built-in Browser automatically as part of regular OS updates on Windows 10, but that might take a while. Users however, can manually download the new browser on older windows or macOS. Microsoft’s initial targets are Enterprise users on both windows and mac. New Edge’s Internet explorer mode will be of keen interest for a lot of businesses which enables them to load legacy IE sites within Edge automatically. Perhaps this is one functionality that will help the new ‘Edge’, get some genuine edge over others.
All the key features of new edge were already known due to the open source of nature of Chromium.
Key features include support for both chrome and Microsoft extensions, reader mode, ability to switch profiles along with various anti-tracking features. These Anti-tracking features ensure that content and ads are less personalized and harmful trackers are blocked. Microsoft is also releasing this version of Edge to OEMs (Original equipment manufacturers). It means that upcoming back to school devices will be pre-equipped with new version of Edge browser.
The new bookmarking feature known as ‘Collections’ is still in testing phase. It is expected to come out in future updates. Collections allow users to collate images and content from the web as well as tracking prevention.
Now the big question is whether all these efforts will let Microsoft reenter the competition and shift users to its browser. With added tracking features, it does address privacy concerns to some extent, but will that be enough to lure people to switching, time will tell. Support for 4K Netflix with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision literally give it an edge over chrome. The success of the new Chromium-powered Edge will boil down to whether it is fully embraced by web developers and competitors like Google, two factors crucial if it aims at regaining user trust.