Microsoft announced recently that they will switch their not-so-popular Edge browser from their own proprietary Chakra engine to the popular open-source Chromium project. They have already started releasing the Canary and Dev builds of the new Chromium based Edge browser. If you are a Windows 10 or MacOS X user then you can try this new Edge browser in your computers right now. As of now the Beta version of new Edge browser is still not available, but will be available in a few weeks.
Here is how you can download and install new Chromium based Edge browser in your computer :
- If you have installed Google Chrome browser (or any other browser based on Chrome), close it down. Edge installation will fail if you do not close all Chrome windows (as of 11th April 2019).
- Visit https://www.microsoftedgeinsider.com/en-us/download/ and click on the Download button for the beta, dev or the canary version, whichever version you are interested in.
- Launch the downloaded setup installer which will download more data from the internet.
- In a few minutes, new Edge browser will be launched and you can start using it as usual.
The new Chromium based Edge browser looks exactly like Google Chrome, uses the same version numbering scheme as Chrome and even starts using the same default user profile as Google Chrome installed in your computer. The installation process is also exactly the same.
But Microsoft has also added some of their features in this browser – for example, you can use web apps in their own window. For this, you have to visit a web app site and then select Apps → Install App from the menu and Edge will create a shortcut to that web app on your Windows desktop. When launched this will run inside Edge browser but in a separate window without any toolbar, menubar or status bar. Similarly, the Read Aloud feature has been integrated in the new Edge browser.
Chromium project based Microsoft Edge browser is available for Windows 10 and Mac OS only. It is not clear whether Microsoft will prepare it for the Linux users too. New Edge browser looks interesting, but as of now Chrome browser has nothing to worry about.