Why Chromium is the new Edge

Chromium is the New Edge

Remember those old episodes of Mission: Impossible where one of the characters would pull off a rubber mask to reveal one of the IM Force team members. That happened this year on your Windows desktop. Chromium is the new Edge.

Check out Microsoft’s own website:

Download the new Microsoft Edge based on Chromium
Microsoft Edge Windows 10

The new Microsoft Edge is based on Chromium and was released on January 15, 2020. It is compatible with all supported versions of Windows, and macOS. With speed, performance, best in class compatibility for websites and extensions, and built-in privacy and security features, it’s the only browser you’ll ever need.

In June this year, Microsoft began rolling out a Windows 10 update that included a new version of the Edge web browser. Except it wasn’t Edge.

In December 2018, Microsoft announced it would replace the EdgeHTML rendering engine with the Open Source Chromium rendering engine – yes, Chromium, the Open Source branch of the browser by deadly rival Google. After years of browser wars and fiercely fought independence, Microsoft not only turned about faced and imported a third party browser but Google’s third party browser. It was a seismic shock. Pigs flew. Lucifer turned on the central heating.

At the time, Microsoft explained the decision was “to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.”

Developers being the key. Nobody was testing using the original Edge browser. Chrome and Firefox overtook the increasingly rickety Internet Explorer. At the end of IE’s life, Edge, with it’s Microsoft quirks failed to set the world alight and just didn’t gain either traction or loyalty. The lack of cross-browser testing in Edge caused compatibility issues and user frustration.

Fast-forward (should that be ‘slow-forward’?) to 2020 and the new Edge feels very similar to Google Chrome. Because it is. It includes features found in Chrome, supports Chrome browser extensions, and has that same rendering engine as Google Chrome.

Websites that didn’t render properly in the old Edge now work.

The new version of Microsoft Edge is updated every six weeks, just like Chrome.

The old ‘legacy Edge’ remains installed for compatibility reasons, but Windows now hides it like Mrs Rochester in the attic.

Built on the same engine, Microsoft is putting its own spin on things, not just cosmetic touches for branding. The new Chromium-based Edge substitutes Microsoft services for Google’s services. An obvious example is where Edge syncs your browser data with your Microsoft account rather than a Google account. Edge keeps its’ “collections” for capturing snippets of web pages and storing them like super-bookmarks.

The new Edge has some features Chrome doesn’t. For example, a built-in tracking prevention feature and a potentially unwanted program (PUP) blocker.

Altogether is it a much smoother and less jarring experience.

Don’t think the Broswer Wars are over, however. Start installing Chrome extensions and Edge gets very prickly about ‘untrusted’ sources. Both Google and Microsoft start popping messages about switching browsers if you use Edge with a Chrome service or Google’s Chrome with anything on Windows 10.

As if the vast majority of users care as long as they have a browser that ‘just works.’ AJS

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