This is the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 25, 2019
Updated • Nov 15, 2019
Internet, Microsoft Edge

Microsoft revealed plans in December 2018 to use Chromium as the core for the company's Microsoft Edge web browser instead of the company's own engine.

Chromium is used by Google Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and several other web browsers. Some saw the decision as a long overdue move to improve the default browser on Windows, others as another step towards a Chromium monopoly on the web.

Firefox and Internet Explorer, Microsoft's second web browser that is not really in development anymore, are the two only browsers left standing that use a different engine on Windows after Microsoft completes the move.

A version of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser leaked to the public recently. The download has a size of 112 Megabytes and it is recommended to test it in a sandbox or virtual machine as it comes from an unofficial source.

Note that the browser is still in active development; some things may change and features that are missing may be added before the first stable version release later this year.

The new Edge and the old Edge run side by side. I tested this only on a Windows 10 machine; the new Edge will run on Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 systems as well according to Microsoft. Whether that is the case for this build is unclear.

The Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser

microsoft edge chromium

The browser interface looks very similar to that of other Chromium-based browsers; this should not come as a surprise as all browsers use the same core.

The browser picks up the logged in Microsoft Account of the Windows system and displays the account icon in the interface automatically.

The menu looks like a mix of Chrome's main menu and that of Microsoft Edge. Most options look identical to those offered by Chrome but you find Microsoft's handwriting in some entries. The Read Aloud option is already available and incognito mode is called inPrivate mode.

The Edge main menu is gone in this build which is a good thing in my opinion as I never got used to it. Settings do look different in Microsoft Edge than in Chromium.

microsoft edge settings

A couple of things are still missing in Settings. There is no Themes option or option to change the search engine, but most Chromium Settings are already available.

Update: you can edit search engines by going to edge://settings/searchEngines.

Microsoft integrated Windows Defender SmartScreen in the browser natively.

The extensions link works already and redirects to the Microsoft Store. There you may install a few dozen extensions optimized for the Microsoft Edge version of Chromium already.

Extensions include AdBlock Plus, Amazon Assistant, Boomerang for Gmail, Dashlane, Enhancer for YouTube, LastPass, Save to Pocket, or uBlock Origin.

Installations work directly; it is no longer necessary to install browser extensions for Edge from within the Microsoft Store app.

install extensions edge

Edge displays the extension installation dialog directly in the browser window. The prompt lists permission requests and options to install the extension or cancel the process.

The extensions management page lists options to enable the Developer Mode and to allow extensions from other stores. Microsoft Edge displays a notification to users that this is an option when the Chrome Web Store is visited (but not Mozilla AMO).

microsoft edge chromium extensions chrome

You can install extensions from the Chrome Web Store after you make the change on edge://extensions.

The option removes a severe limitation as Edge users could only select from a hundred or so extensions previously. Support for Chrome extensions gives users more options and improved functionality.

Closing Words

The new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser does away with several of the annoyances of the old Edge browser. Better web standards support and support for Chrome extensions are certainly features that make the new Edge more attractive. Whether that is enough to convince users to stick with the browser remains to be seen.

The first impression is good. Microsoft Edge is fast to open, websites load quickly, and you can install extensions from the Chrome Web Store. Some settings and options are still missing but development is ongoing. It is possible that these will be introduced in a future version.

Now You: What's your take on this initial Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge? (via Caschy)

This is the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser
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This is the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser
A first look at a leaked version of the upcoming Chromium-based version of the Microsoft Edge browser that Microsoft plans to release soon.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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