Today is the big day — after a year of work, Microsoft has launched its revamped Edge browser with a Chromium base. This version of the browser will roll out with an upcoming Windows 10 update, but you don’t have to wait any longer. Just pop over the Microsoft’s website, and you can download Chromium Edge for various versions of Windows and macOS.
Microsoft launched Windows 10 with Edge built-in, and it spent years begging people to use it. Despite some annoying and sometimes misleading Windows pop-ups, Edge never made a dent in Chrome’s market share. Microsoft decided to throw in the towel just over a year ago when it pledged to make a new version of Edge without the custom EdgeHTML engine. Instead, it would start with Google’s open-source Chromium code and integrate Microsoft services.
That’s just what Microsoft has done over the past year. The first pre-release developer builds appeared in early 2019, and more stable beta versions began rolling out late last year. Now, you can download the stable version of Chromium Edge, and it’ll look very familiar to anyone who’s spent time in Chrome.
If you install on Windows 10, the new Edge can automatically grab your Windows account. It also offers to import content from your current browser. If that browser is Chrome, Edge can import a surprising amount of your data. Not only can it grab bookmarks, but it does so without mangling the formatting. It’ll also move your form auto-fill content, settings, and even your saved passwords. However, your existing Chrome extensions won’t transfer over.
Edge promises the quick browsing experience users have come to expect from Chrome without as much tracking. You can opt-out of Microsoft’s ad-targeting during setup, and Edge defaults to a “Balanced” privacy setting that blocks trackers from sites you haven’t visited. You can crank that up to “Strict” to block almost all trackers at the expense of breaking some sites and features.
Microsoft won’t drop the new Edge on everyone right away, but the first users will get it in an upcoming Windows update. The full rollout should be completed around the middle of the year. If you choose to install Edge now, it will continue getting periodic updates outside of Microsoft’s clunky Windows Update mechanisms.
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