Over the past few months, we’ve been following Microsoft’s plan to replace their Edge browser on Windows 10 with a browser based on Chromium, Google’s open-source base for Chrome. As of today, Microsoft has made the new Chromium-based Edge available to download for public testing.
We already know what to expect from Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge, as a few publications were able to download a leaked build and share screenshots from it a few weeks ago. Microsoft is not trying to veer too far from the winning formula of Chrome, so much as they’re tuning it and re-skinning it to better fit Windows 10.
This morning, via The Verge, Microsoft has made the new Edge publicly available for download on Windows 10, and in yet another resemblance to Chrome and Chromium, has “Developer” and “Canary” as the available download options.
With “Beta” builds on the way in the coming weeks, this directly matches Chrome’s four update channels. Just like Chrome, the Canary builds will be updated daily and offer quicker access to new features, at the cost of stability, and the Developer builds are updated weekly, offering a bit more stability.
Both of these builds, despite being primarily intended for developers to prepare for the upcoming change in Windows 10’s default browser, are certainly still usable for normal web browsing. You’ll even be able to install Google Chrome extensions from the Chrome Web Store, though not all may work as expected.
So far the general impression is that the new Chromium-based Edge offers better performance on Windows 10 than Google Chrome is currently able to. The exact reasons for this are unknown, as many of Microsoft’s improvements have been contributed directly to the Chromium open-source project, since we first spotted their work last year.
While the new Chromium-based Edge is currently only available for download on Windows 10, Microsoft has promised to bring the browser to other versions of Windows (dating back to Windows 7) and even macOS. No plans have been shared to support Linux.