Microsoft is getting ready to replace the Edge web browser that ships with Windows 10 with a new version based on Google’s Chromium.

Now the company is one step closer to doing that: Microsoft has released a public beta of its new Chromium-based Edge browser. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.

Microsoft says while Edge beta is still pre-release software, its “ready for everyday use.”

The company first announced plans to move to Chromium late last year, and Microsoft released the first public preview in June.

Moving to Chromium means that for the most part web content will look the same in Edge as it does in Google’s Chrome web browser, and Microsoft doesn’t need to maintain development of its own rendering engine.

But development is a two-way street: among other things, Microsoft has reportedly made improvements to the open source Chromium code that could lead to reduced power consumption/improved battery life for all Chromium-based browsers, including Chrome and Edge.

Edge also has a bunch of features that aren’t present in Google’s browser, including:

  • A “read aloud” text-to-speech features that will read websites to you,
  • Optional Tracking Prevention
  • Custom layout options for new tab pages
  • Microsoft Edge Insider Addons store for extensions (Google’s Chrome Web Store is also supported)
  • Internet Explorer mode (which brings IE11 compatibility to Edge)

Microsoft says the beta channel is the third and final preview channel for the new Edge browser, so the next channel to go live will be the stable version… but it’s unclear when that’ll be available.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley says it’s unlikely to happen until late 2019 or early 2020 at the soonest. In the meantime, new beta releases should be available every six weeks.

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6 replies on “Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser goes beta”

  1. “based on Google’s Chromium”. Correct me if I’m wrong but the Chromium Browser is an open-source browser project of Chromium.org. Google Chrome, like Microsoft’s new Edge browser, is a fork of the Chromium source.

    1. Google, being the primary backer, controls the majority of what goes into chromium. They deserve the credit, and they deserve the blame, for most of what chromium does.
      Consequently, they have considerable control over what every browser based on chromium does. It’s not absolute, but they have the influence to change web standards so that it’s difficult for anyone to keep up without building their forks on the latest version of chromium.

  2. What about browser extensions? Will Chrome extensions work with this browser?

      1. I finally installed the beta, and their “insider” store does have a good number of extensions. So many that I do suspect they can just use the Chrome extensions. Oddly the Windows Defender extension is not present!

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