Microsoft has made a surprising revelation. The company was rebuilding the app it built to bring better web browsing to Windows 10 — Edge — from scratch. Surprise turned to disbelief when Microsoft announced that the new Edge would be built using the same code that powers Google Chrome.
It’s a curious situation, to be sure. Fortunately, anyone who’s sufficiently curious can now download the all-new Edge browser and see what all the fuss is about.
Microsoft has thrown the doors wide open and is inviting the public to test Edge while it’s still in development. Head on over to the Edge Insider website and you can download one of three different test versions. Just like Google does with Chrome, Microsoft is offering a beta, developer, and canary “channel” for Edge.
None of the three should be considered stable, so it’s probably not advisable to set any of them as your default web browser just yet. The Edge beta channel is the closest to a finished product and will see updates once every six weeks or so. Code in the developer channel will move more quickly, with updates appearing once a week.
As for canary, it’s the most up-to-date version of Edge you can run. It has all the latest code additions, which means you’ll get to see new features early and often. The down side is that Edge canary may also crash early and often.
What can you expect from the new Microsoft Edge? In short, a combination of what you’ve experienced from using both Google Chrome and the original Edge.
In my brief experience with the new browser, web pages load in a flash and look how you expect them to look. That’s not a shock since the underlying code, Chromium, is doing the heavy lifting just like it does for Google Chrome.
Microsoft has added some nice touches, like a privacy alert that lets you know when a site is trying to access your webcam, microphone, and motion or light sensors. You can set up multiple user profiles (just like in Chrome) and synchronize your browsing preferences across all your computers.
For now you can only test the new Edge browser on Windows 10. Versions for Windows 8, Windows 7 and macOS are coming soon.