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Microsoft have rewritten their Edge browser to be based on the Chromium platform
Microsoft have completely rewritten their Edge browser. The result is (by design) very similar to Chrome - you can even use Chrome extensions -but is probably even easier to use than Google's browser.

Posted by Andy Brown on 06 February 2020

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Edge is now based on the same platform as Chrome

Microsoft have rewritten their new browser, Edge, so that it uses the Chromium open-source platform (the same platform upon which Google's Chrome browser is built). 

Some industry wags are calling the new browser "Edgium", to reflect its mixed parentage, although the official name is still "Edge" (it's a bit like the Mini; totally redesign the product, but keep the brand).

It's early days, but this article explains what the new Edge browser is and does, and why having used it for a few days I already like it so much.

Installing Edge

You can install Edge (in more than 90 languages!) here.  The first thing you see is a really nice, clean interface with a new logo:

New Edge logo

The old logo looked far too much like the Internet Explorer logo; I really like this new one.

The install was quick and painless, with no unwanted questions.  It's almost as if Microsoft have been learning from Google!

Importing your Chrome settings

As part of the installation, I chose to import my settings from Chrome:

Chrome import option

The option I saw when installing new Edge (presumably because I've got Chrome installed on my laptop).

If you click on the More import options link, you can fine-tune what you import: 

My profile

You can choose which parts of your Chrome profile you want to import.

Managing your favourites

The new Edge browser looks more or less indistinguishable from Chrome (unsurprisingly, as it shares the same foundations), but I do prefer the way it allows you to manage favourites and other settings:

Managing favourites

This shows that I spend way too much time in London!

Changing your default browser

For some strange reason Microsoft haven't made this quite as easy as everything else!  Can't imagine why.  Here's how you can stop Bing being your default search engine.

First go to Settings:

Settings menu

Click on the ... tool at the top right of your screen, and choose to go to Edge's Settings.

 

Go to Privacy & Settings:

Privacy and Settings

Select this tab.

 

Scroll all the way down to the bottom and choose this option:

Address bar

Choose the default search engine used for the address bar.

Choose your preferred default search engine:

Default search engine

Yahoo, anyone?

When you create a new page in your browser, however, it will still use the Bing search engine.  If this annoys you, you can install one of many Chrome extensions to customise what happens when you add a tab in Edge.

Chrome extensions

You can install Chrome extensions in Edge, although (understandably) it's not quite as seamless as installing extensions from the Microsoft Store! 

First choose to work with extensions:

Working with extensions

Click on the ... icon and choose Extensions as shown.

 

Now tell Edge that you want to use another store:

Managing extensions

Choose the option at the bottom to allow extensions from other stores.

 

Now go to the Chrome Extensions store in another tab of your browser:

Chrome extensions store

The reassuring message at the top shows that you can install Chrome extensions in Edge. Here I've searched for the MozBar extension, to show the popularity of websites I visit.

You can now install this extension:

Adding an extension

Click on the button to add this extension!

As with everything else with the new Edge browser, I found the process to be easy to use and trouble-free.

Linking to other Microsoft applications

One of the big advantages of using the new Edge browser over Chrome is that it will interface better with other Microsoft software.  For example:

  • New Edge syncs with Azure Active Directory accounts (you can see the details here).
  • The new browser will sync with Office 365 collections (currently in development).

I'm not sure that there are so many current benefits to this, but it seems likely that there will be future ones as Microsoft integrate their software with their new browser.

My early impressions (and those of other reviewers) is that Microsoft have got everything right, and in future there will be little reason to install Chrome on a new Windows laptop to replace the default Edge browser.  This is because Edge basically IS Chrome now!

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