Update 16th Jan 2020: The New Edge is now live! You can download from here” https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge?form=MO12GC&OCID=MO12GC and more details here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2020/01/15/new-year-new-browser-the-new-microsoft-edge-is-out-of-preview-and-now-available-for-download/
“Edgium” or ‘The next version of Microsoft Edge’ is Microsoft’s rebuild of the Microsoft Edge browser, built on the open-source Chromium platform. I recently decided to start using it and see the current state of Edgium (which I’ll call it that for the rest of this post for clarification’s sake).
Microsoft Edge was met with a lot of resistance when launched – and although there were reasonable claims about it being the fastest browser around, there were a lot of features lacking and sites that wouldn’t work with it.
Here’s why Microsoft decided to abandon Edge as it is. It’s interesting to note that on mobile devices, they were already using an open-source foundation from the start, and for the desktop version there’s a focus on making sure all web standards are adopted.
You can download Microsoft Edge Beta right now and install it in parallel with the old Edge – or you can install the build that replaces old Edge direct from Microsoft here (keep in mind you can’t uninstall from this). The Beta is good if you want to have a play around before committing.
The expirience I’ve had so far is rock solid. There are some ways where it loosk and feels like Chrome, and others where it’s more Edgey. The import options (for me at least) just worked – I could import everything from browser history, favorites and saved passwords and pick which Chrome profile I wanted to import it from.
At the Edgium end, I’ve then created multiple profiles and imported each relevant profile across to match the experience I was having on Chrome. Multiple profiles is great when you’re doing things in Microsoft 365 and have multiple accounts (user and admin) and different tenants to access.
Also, Edgium fully supports Chrome extensions. Old Edge did have extensions too, but very few. Edgium will prompt, asking if you want to allow 3rd party extensions, and then you add them just like you would in Chrome:
The settings area of Edgium in my opinion, is much better than Chrome:
There’s also already Group Policy ADM/ADMX files ready to use which gives IT Administrators a lot of control over the browser, which is worth putting in place and going through before you even consider piloting Edgium.
For IT Admins, also check out the security baseline you should use, currently in draft form.
Edgium also has an Internet Explorer mode, so hopefully this can end up with Edgium replacing Chrome, Internet Explorer and Old Edge with a single browser – it might take a while of course, but for a company looking to control the user experience a bit more and not manage lots of browsers, it’s looking hopeful.
At the time of writing there’s no announced release date of Edgium, but it’s expected to completely replace Edge – so it’s worth getting used to it early. I’m sure there will be some changes between here and launch, but it should all be small changes.
Personally I’ve made the move from Chrome to Edge and haven’t hit an issue yet. Old Edge is on the way out, and overall this seems to be a positive decision for all involved. Let’s see how