Chromium-Powered Edge Browser Open to Test

Microsoft just released preview versions of its Chromium-powered Edge browser for developers on Monday. If you’ve downloaded it to test it, you’ve probably noticed it’s very stable and performs surprisingly well, according to reports.

It even performs better than Google’s own Chrome browser on Windows 10, despite being built on the same Chromium open-source project. While it’s early days for Microsoft’s new Edge, the company has revealed all of the Google services it has replaced or removed from its new Chromium-powered browser to optimize performance.

Microsoft has removed or replaced more than 50 of Google’s services that come as part of Chromium, including things like ad blocking, Google Now, Google Cloud Messaging, and Chrome OS-related services. Microsoft’s Edge engineering team is due to reveal more about its Chromium work during a BlinkOn 10 keynote Tuesday, and this will include more details on what has been removed and changed over Google’s own implementation of Chromium.

Microsoft is also working on ARM support for Chromium, alongside PDF enhancements, battery life improvements, smooth scrolling, editing, layout, dev tools, and web authentication. Developers can help test these changes using daily Canary builds of Edge or weekly Developer versions, and Microsoft is expected to release a more stable beta version soon (with updates every six weeks).

Microsoft also notes that “building Edge on Chromium was a relatively smooth process,” and that it has made hundreds of changes to Chromium to produce its Edge version with more than 300 merges so far. It’s clear we’re only at the starting phase of a Chromium-powered Edge, and Microsoft is also developing versions that will run on Windows 8, Windows 7, and macOS.

While smooth functionality has its advantages, it needs to be more compatible than Microsoft’s own Edge browser was. Lagging in development, taking years to allow extensions and ad-blockers. Edge was introduced in 2015 with the launch of Windows 10, but didn’t start allowing extensions until 2018. A  Chromium-powered Edge browser makes sense, but what they do with it makes all the difference.

 

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