The New Microsoft Edge Browser

Posted by Jordan Weber on Tue, Dec, 03, 2019 @ 15:12 PM

Microsoft is planning to release their overhauled Edge web browser about a month from now. Ordinarily we wouldn’t get too excited over a web browser published by Microsoft. This last version of Edge was lackluster, and Internet Explorer never suffered from an overabundance of appreciation. But today, the game is different. Edge will make use of the same basic code that powers Google’s wildly popular Chrome browser, an open-source project known as Chromium. Will this similarity be enough to convert some of the Chrome faithful back to Microsoft’s camp? After all, there are a few Chromium-based browsers out there, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave and Chrome, to name a few. How will Microsoft's version stand up to this already-packed field?

We first learned of Microsoft’s plans to overhaul the Edge browser back in April of this year. We also beta tested the new Edge in September. Following the test it still wasn’t clear how the new Edge would successfully differentiate itself from Chrome, given their shared lineage. Even if it looked cool, would the pain of switching be worth it? Assuming users gave it a try, what would encourage them to hang around and keep using it?

After a few new releases from Microsoft, it appears we now have some answers to those questions.

New Features to Expect

Although Edge users will be able to customize the look and feel of the browser interface, it seems that most of Edge’s significant improvements are more subtle. A good example is Microsoft’s claim that the new Edge will work better with major streaming services such as Netflix. When used on Windows 10, Edge can stream Netflix in 4K. Chrome and Firefox currently stream such services at a max of 1080p.

Edge also grants users the ability to mute sound on individual browser tabs. Simply click on the speaker icon in the tab to mute it. You can also right click on the tab and select “mute” from the dropdown menu.

Microsoft has also taken a scalpel to the basic Chromium code package and trimmed it down. The company has either turned off or replaced about 50 different built-in components of the core Chromium platform (see figure below). Some changes merely involved swapping out Google-branded components with Microsoft-branded substitutes. However, we believe Microsoft likely ripped out other components to make Edge more efficient and lightweight. Even hardcore Chrome loyalists will admit Google’s browser is a resource hog that can quickly bog down even a new computer. If Edge proves itself to be more resource-efficient than Google Chrome, this will be a major selling point in the process of getting users to convert.

deactivated chromium services

As one might expect, Edge also integrates neatly with Microsoft’s existing Azure cloud and Active Directory service. This should make life easier for network admins as it helps consolidate the environment of office applications they have to manage. Meanwhile, users will glean value from time-saving features like Single-Sign-On (SSO).

Security

Microsoft has implemented a new anti-tracking feature that secures Edge even further. It prevents websites from tracking your browser activity and it seems to be aimed squarely at online advertising and the tracking industry. You can control the feature by going to the Edge settings page under Privacy and Services. In that menu you'll find an interface that’s fairly self-explanatory and easy to use.

Access to many more extensions

One of Edge’s primary advantages is it works with multiple extension stores. This means Edge users will be able to install extensions from Microsoft and from the Chrome Web Store. Based on a comparison of the two marketplaces, there are 8 browser extensions exclusive to Edge users.

With this new release, Microsoft is off to a good start in widening the gap between the Edge and Chrome browsers. 

 

Topics: Microsoft, Popular Article, Microsoft Edge