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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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Click on the ... tool at the top right of your screen, and choose to go to Edge's Settings.
Go to Privacy & Settings:
Select this tab.
Scroll all the way down to the bottom and choose this option:
Choose the default search engine used for the address bar.
Choose your preferred default search engine:
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.
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:
Click on the ... icon and choose Extensions as shown.
Now tell Edge that you want to use another store:
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:
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:
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!