Microsoft is working on a new version of Edge, entirely based on Google Chrome. We were able to get a preview, and here are our first impressions.
In December 2018, Microsoft surprised everyone by announcing that Edge, the default browser on Windows 10, would soon switch to a new version, based entirely on Chromium. This means that Microsoft is adopting Google's solution, quickly becoming the market leader, and giving up its own engine, inherited from Internet Explorer, for the general public.
This new version of Microsoft Edge is expected soon to be available to the registered Insider program correspondent. In the meantime, we were able to test a first preview of the browser.
Google Chrome with the Edge interface
At first launch, we face something halfway between the classic Windows 10 Edge and Google Chrome. The homepage straight out of Bing reminds us that we have a Microsoft browser in front of us.
Note however the profile system placed next to the address bar, which comes straight from Google Chrome. The parameters have also been completely revised. On our version, account synchronization was not working, but it should be done with a Microsoft account, not a Google account.
One of the most important aspects of a modern browser is its extension system. Here, Microsoft continues to host its own expansion store, but its latest is exactly the same as on Chromium. We hope that the firm will open the doors of its shop, so that developers can easily and quickly publish the thousands of extensions that are found today at Google. Fortunately, the essential extensions are already there.
The development tools (F12) and browser task manager are exactly the same as under Google Chrome.
Missing functions with the shovel
Like Chrome, you can access hidden parameters by accessing the address "edge: // flags /". On this page, you can for example access a first version of the dark theme of the browser. This does not darken the visited pages, or even the browser settings, but only the tab bar.
Some functions of the old Microsoft Edge are missing from this new version. For example, there are no options for annotating web pages, and the built-in PDF reader is very basic. The possibilities of "putting these tabs aside" or displaying preview images for the tabs have also disappeared.
A promising browser
After a short navigation session, this new Edge is both fluid and stable. By opening identical web pages, the RAM consumption does not change too much according to our findings, between the new Edge and Google Chrome.
We hope that Microsoft will soon catch up with its shortcomings and integrate them into its browser. With the Chromium engine, the firm could hope to make its solution, the best browser to have Windows 10. After all, why download the Chrome from Google, if the one from Microsoft is already installed on the machine? Finally, forget the time when we used the Microsoft browser only to download that of Google or Mozilla.
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