The new Chrome-based version of Microsoft’s Edge (opens in new tab) internet browser is finally ready for prime time after spending most of last year in preview testing. This updated version of Microsoft’s internet browser has been built in the Chromium open source engine, the same that Google Chrome (opens in new tab) is based on. If you want to upgrade to the new Edge browser, you can manually download it at Microsoft’s website (opens in new tab). Alternatively, you can wait for the automatic rollout, which will be taking place over the next several months.
Companies upgrade their software all the time, so why the big song and dance from Microsoft on this one? This new Chromium version of Edge represents a level of acceptance from the tech giant, which has been trying to push its own browser platform for years with limited success. The old version of Edge was maligned by users due to its sluggish pace, lackluster features, and lacking privacy features. We rated Edge third in our best web browsers guide (opens in new tab).
The new version of Edge promises to offer "better compatibility for everyone, less fragmentation for web developers, and a partnership with the Chromium community to improve the Chromium engine itself." This should result in a smoother user experience for everyone, though time will tell whether it can actually deliver on this promise... or whether anyone will even use the new browser.
What web browser do you use?
Microsoft has been careful to ensure that the upgrade process is as quick and painless as possible, so you can rest easy knowing that your default settings, passwords, and favorites will all be saved when upgrading to the new Edge browser. The update also promises not to overwrite your default browser settings, so if you use Chrome then you won’t suddenly find Edge popping up in your face post update.
Microsoft launched Edge back in 2015 as a replacement for Internet Explorer. The browser struggled to gain significant traction due to stiff competition from Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox (opens in new tab) and as of November 2019, Edge accounts for 4- 6 % of global usage of desktop browsers, depending on which tracking system you use. For comparison, Google Chrome accounts for 59 - 67% of usage, while second place Mozilla Firefox takes roughly 6 – 9% of the market share.
if you’re looking to secure your online browsing experience from threats, check out our best antivirus (opens in new tab) software guide. You can also check out our best VPN guide if you’re looking to stay safe and anonymous online.