Microsoft has had a tough time of it with browsers ever since, well, browsers existed. So what’s a company to do? If you can’t beat’em, join’em. That’s the idea behind Microsoft’s overhaul of Microsoft Edge, which drops the company’s proprietary browser rendering engine in favor of Google’s Chromium engine. Now, Microsoft is ready to put its new Chromium Edge browser into our hands for beta testing.
The Chromium Edge browser is available right now at the link above for Windows 10 and MacOS. The browser will see updates hitting every six weeks, versus the nightly builds happening on the developer side of things. Tons of features are already in place and more are coming. Dark mode, online tracking prevention, and improved browsing speed are all part of this.
One neat feature, Collections, will let you save a window of tabs into a Word document or as a list of links into a spreadsheet; these will be huge for research junkies and careful shoppers. Another useful feature will let you open up an IE11 tab within Edge. Corporate dependency on Internet Explorer is a big headache for Microsoft. This seems like a great bridge between old and new. You’ll also be able to browse cross-platform, syncing between PC, Android, and iOS. That’s some important feature parity that could help the browser get more traction.
A different Microsoft
In addition to adopting the Chromium engine, Microsoft is also contributing to Chromium in areas it specializes in, like accessibility, as part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to open-source software.
This is just another sign that Microsoft appears to be listening in ways it never used to. Gamers have watched Microsoft turn the Xbox around with gamer-focused products and initiatives. The Xbox One Adaptive Controller was a huge step both for gamers and for accessibility and resulted in Microsoft creating a new division focused around accessibility. When we compare that to the days of Microsoft getting in hot water over pushing IE on its European customers, it looks like a different company. Maybe someday Internet Explorer won’t be the browser people use to download Chrome and Firefox.