What does Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser mean?
Microsoft recently released its new Chromium based version of Edge, which many, like us, have taken to calling ChrEdge! The stable release was made available early January 15th for direct download, but have indicated it will be released in stages and will continue over the next few months.
Why did Microsoft make this switch?
There are a number of reasons for Microsoft to make the switch. A big one is that Edge only ran Windows 10 and not on older versions of the OS or on Macs. Microsoft’s browser marketshare was fragmented by these incompatibilities. The new version of Edge is built on the Chromium open-source engine which of course means they’ve abandoned their proprietary EdgeHTML rendering engine in favor of one that has extensively more market share. So, they are the same as Chrome now, right? Not so fast…
While the browser is built on Chromium, Microsoft has made a lot of changes from that base code. Earlier this year, they posted a list of over 50 services that were either disabled or replaced from the Chromium base. Some, like Safe Browsing were replaced with Microsoft equivalents like Windows Defender SmartScreen, so user experiences will be different between the two browsers.
What are the biggest differences between Edge vs ChrEdge?
- The proprietary EdgeHTML rendering engine was replaced with the market leader base engine.
- Chrome-based extensions compatibility making it easier for users to switch from Chrome to Edge and keep their tools and data.
- New tracking prevention enabled by default.
- Progressive Web App support
- Collections support
Why Should you Care?
It would be tempting to think that since the new Edge is based on Chromium, if it works on Chrome, it will work on Edge. For a large part, that is definitely true. But we don’t do cross browser testing because things are close or should work, we do it to ensure it works 100% as expected. Given the amount of services changed by Microsoft, there will almost certainly be situations where the two browsers behave differently. Add that to the aggregation of the Edge user base growing to include older Windows OS users as well as Mac users and the market share starts to be significantly larger. Only time will tell, but we believe that both of these justify adding the new Edge to your cross browser testing program.
Start testing your website on ChrEdge with CrossBrowserTesting. One click away!