Anyone interested in trying Microsoft’s redesigned Edge Chromium browser can now download and use the first release version.
Edge Chromium is rebuilt with Google’s Chromium, the open-source browser engine that powers main rival Google Chrome. The change will, in theory, make it easier for developers to produce extensions for the browser, as well as making for a more standardized web experience for users and web developers, with websites loading with a similar appearance to Google’s own browser.
Under the new version of Edge, Microsoft will include a new tracking prevention default where it is turned on from the start. The SmartScreen and Tracking Prevention mechanisms aim to protect against phishing schemes, malware, and other malicious software, while an InPrivate mode will stop web searches from being attributable to the user, somewhat similar to Chrome’s Incognito mode.
At launch, history sync and extension sync won’t be available, which could be a deal breaker for some users. These features are a large reason why many users choose Google’s Chrome in the first place. Microsoft has stated that both history and extension sync will be available later in 2020.
A Collections feature, which is listed as “coming soon,” can be used to collect web content for research purposes, which can then be exported into Word or Excel for further analysis.
While many established users are likely to continue using their browser of choice, Microsoft Edge Chromium does serve a purpose. Enterprise users will be able to utilize Chromium’s built in “Internet Explorer” mode, which will allow businesses and agencies to load legacy Internet Explorer content.
While it targets enterprise users, the newly released browser is available for anyone download now from Microsoft directly, on both macOS and Windows. Chromium’s enhanced privacy features and support for 4K Ultra HD Netflix with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, currently for Windows 10 only, has not been replicated on Google Chrome yet.