Microsoft’s next generation Edge browser for PC, which has been designed from scratch using Google’s Chromium Open Source project, is finally here. It is available to developers through the Dev and Canary channel preview build.
More details on the upcoming features were announced and previewed at the ongoing Build Developer Conference (June 6-8) in Seattle yesterday. Amongst them is an Internet Explorer mode, which integrates the old browser with the new through a tab. The idea is to allow businesses to run legacy web apps specific to Internet Explorer on the new Edge. While Edge is the primary browser for Windows 10, Internet Explorer continues to be used by many for the older web apps.
Microsoft has clubbed the privacy options in the new Edge browser in three categories — unrestricted, balanced, and strict — for users’ ease so they don’t have to go through all privacy settings manually. It allows users to choose the level of privacy in the “privacy dashboard" and the rest of the settings will be configured accordingly.
Another highlight of the new browser is Collections, which is basically a new way in which users can collect, organise and share content from one tab to another and with the Office apps. This feature is still in early stages of development and will not be a part of the preview build.
A major advantage of the new browser for the developer community is that now they won’t have to rewrite apps built for Chromium-based web browsers for Edge HTML. It is one of the reasons why Microsoft decided to shift the Edge browser to Chromium OS in December.
The decision to shift the browser from Edge HTML to Chromium drew flak from rivals like Mozilla. In an official blog post published in December 2018, Chris Beard, CEO, Mozilla, had said, “Microsoft’s decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us. From a business point of view, Microsoft’s decision may well make sense."
He adds that if one product like Chromium has most of the market share, then it becomes easier for web developers and businesses to ignore how their services work on other platforms. According to Netmarketshare data for PC browsers, Chrome has a market share of 65.81%, Firefox 9.63%, Edge 4.49% and Safari 3.69%.