What to expect from Microsoft's 'new Edge' browser, rolling out to you soon

Consumers won't have a choice in the matter, though if you don't browse with Edge, Microsoft will respect that choice

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has said that while it will begin rolling out its new, Chromium-based Edge browser today, the process will take several months to complete for the PC market as a whole.

Microsoft said in a blog post on Wednesday that the new Edge browser would be pushed to PCs as part of a “measured rollout” that will take months to complete. In fact, if you’re on the stable version of Windows, you’ll be somewhere in the middle of the line.

Microsoft will first roll out the new Edge via a subset of Windows Insiders on the Release Preview ring. It will be “offered to additional devices as data and feedback indicate that users are having a good experience,” Microsoft said.

If you don’t want to wait, however, you can download the new Edge right now at Microsoft.com/Edge, the company added. The stable version of the new Edge is listed as Edge 79.

The “informational” layout of the new Microsoft Edge’s new tab pageCredit: Mark Hachman / IDG
The “informational” layout of the new Microsoft Edge’s new tab page

Microsoft began signalling the transition to the new Edge last year. It’s based on Google's Chromium open-source browser engine, not EdgeHTML. That basically means that it will be Edge on top of a Google Chrome-like base.

What Microsoft calls the “new Edge” will visually distinguish itself from the old, existing Microsoft Edge with a new logo. It’s part of the index image at the top of this post.

Microsoft is also renaming the old version Microsoft Edge Legacy. Otherwise, Microsoft said Wednesday that it’s trying to make the transition process from one browser to the next as seamless as possible, with favourites, passwords, and basic settings carrying over from one browser to the other.

If you’re a consumer, you won’t be able to block the update from happening. Businesses will be given the option of whether to proceed. Enterprise and education users will not be automatically upgraded either.

If you don’t use Microsoft Edge, Microsoft specifically would like you to know that it won’t migrate your browser preference to Edge. Otherwise, the company said, you’ll receive new versions of Edge on about a six-week cadence.

In our review of the new Edge, we found that the browser is solid if a bit bland, with a couple of features that either don’t work yet (based on the late-beta build we tested) or could use a bit of additional polish.

The Chromium foundation, however, gives Edge access both to Microsoft’s list of curated plugins as well as the vast array of extensions available via Google's Chrome Web Store, which offers far more flexibility than the old Edge ever did.

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Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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