Microsoft's Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser has not been released yet as a stable version; the preview versions that Microsoft released, Microsoft Edge Dev and Canary, provide a good understanding of the browser already, however.
The web browser relies on the same core that Google Chrome uses, and that makes these browsers look and behave similarly in most aspects. That's good on the one hand, as it means faster updates and better web standards compatibility, but it also means that there is little that distinguishes the browser from Chrome unless modified.
Companies that rely on Chromium can modify the browser; Vivaldi, Opera and Brave do this to create custom experiences that differ significantly from Chromium and Google Chrome.
Microsoft's Edge browser will be different to a degree as well, and the following list of features highlights just some of the differences between Edge and Chrome.
1. Better Support for commercial Streaming Media services
Microsoft Edge is the only Chromium-based browser that supports Google's Widevine DRM and Microsoft's own PlayReady DRM.
Support for the latter unlocks 4K streams on Netflix, something that only Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge (classic) support on Windows. Chrome, Firefox, and any other browser may stream with a quality of up to 1080p with the help of extensions.
The feature is restricted to Windows 10, however.
2. Internet Explorer Mode
The Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge will support Internet Explorer integration. The feature is listed as an experimental flag at this time which could mean that it is removed without further notice.
It is more likely that the feature remains in Edge once it gets released to provide organizations with an option to access Internet Explorer optimized or exclusive content in Edge.
The feature is not completely integrated right now but the description suggests that Edge users may load Internet Explorer content in a tab in Edge.
3. Support for Microsoft Voices
Another feature that is hidden behind a flag currently. Enable Microsoft Voices Extension adds support for Microsoft voices in the SpeechSynthesis API.
Interestingly enough, the feature is available for Windows, Mac and Linux devices.
4. Mute Tab instead of Mute Site
Microsoft Edge supports tab muting. You can mute individual tabs using its default configuration which gives you more control over the muting process.
Chrome supported this in previous iterations as well but Google changed the feature to site muting instead. If you mute a site in any tab, that site gets muted everywhere automatically in Chrome.
In Edge, just click or tap on the sound icon in front of the page title in the tab to mute audio in that tab.
Microsoft Edge still supports site permissions to mute audio permanently for individual domains.
A flag is available to enable site-wide muting. Load chrome://flags/#edge-sound-content-setting to configure it.
5. Windows Defender SmartScreen integration
Chrome and most Chromium-based browsers use Google's Safe Browsing security feature for security. Microsoft Edge will use Microsoft's Windows Defender SmartScreen security feature instead.
The feature protects against malicious sites and downloads. Just like Google's implementation, it is known for the occasional false positive. Can be disabled in the settings.
6. Microsoft Account and Azure Active Directory support
It should not come as a surprise that the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser will support Microsoft Account and Azure Active Directory for authentication and single sign-in.
Edge supports Microsoft infrastructure better than Chrome, and integration of these features confirms that.
7. Removed Google services
Microsoft published a list of disabled or removed Google services in the Chromium-based Edge browser recently. The list of features is surprisingly long; Microsoft disabled some and replaced others (or plans to), e.g. Google Translate will be replaced by Microsoft Translate.
While you could say that you trade one data-hungry company for another, it boils down to personal preference.
8. Exclusive Extensions
Microsoft Edge users may install extensions from the Chrome Web Store or Microsoft's only store. The main advantage of this is that Microsoft's store does not have the same restrictions as Google's store.
One example: Google disallows extensions that download videos from YouTube, Microsoft's Store does not.
It is true, however, that Microsoft's Store lists a bit more than a 100 extensions at the time. It seems unlikely that many more will be added to the Store in the coming years if you consider the rather weak number of extensions that were produced for Edge or ported since 2015.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.