back to article It's alive! Hands on with Microsoft's Chromium Edge browser

After weeks of leaks, Microsoft has finally dropped the first official preview build of its shiny new Chromium-based browser. We took a look at the "Dev Channel" branded browser, version 74.1.96.24, currently for 64-bit Windows 10 (although the likes of Windows 7 will also see support eventually) to get a glimpse of the future …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really, why are they bothering?

    1. ST Silver badge
      Devil

      > Really, why are they bothering?

      Because they felt they needed a third FUBAR'ed browser.

      It's the Microsoft Way™.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well at least just like Edge it seems somewhat faster than Chrome and uses fewer resources,.

    2. NATTtrash

      Because they think long term, even if we want to deny/ ignore that. First, a (new) computer is a one-stop-shop full install for Jane/ Joe average, and not many tinker with "scary" installs. So, the browser (and its pre-sets) will be used. And that means that the telemetry in the long run will pull in the profitable part of the business. As we all know here, the money is made with data of course...

      1. bigtimehustler

        Think long term? Are you serious? If what you say is true then they would have I proved IE long before Firefox arrived and even longer before chrome arrived, thereby heading off the massive market loss they experienced when these products launched. Today they would be the gate keeper of all the data had they done so.

        1. Magnus_Pym

          They think long term but they don't predict the future very well. And they don't spend money when they don't need to. They have missed many important developments but have usually been able to play catch up by leveraging their desktop domination. This usually keep them in contention with a dodgy product long enough for them to either get better or starve the competition to death.They thought Netscape was dead and they didn't see Google at all so moved focus away from IE. As always they realised the danger too late. IE had fallen behind so they dragged up something from some backwater development team and threw money at it to make Edge. It wasn't enough. They have given up and gone with something that might keep their name in the game - a rebranded Chrome. Anything so long as the aforementioned average Jane/Joe don't get start thinking that Computers and Microsoft are not the same thing.

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Option 3

            This usually keep them in contention with a dodgy product long enough for them to either get better or starve the competition to death.

            Or to buy out the competition. There were many companies that started up with the business model of "do something Microsoft-adjacent in order to get bought out." This obviously still happens, though not as much with Microsoft any more.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Because they think long term

        So they developed Edge, then dumped it when nobody was interested. Really long-term thinking.

        a one-stop-shop full install for Jane/ Joe average, and not many tinker with "scary" installs

        If that's true, how come most computers end up running Chrome or Firefox? Do the browser elves carry out secret overnight installations?

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Pirate

          > Do the browser elves carry out secret overnight installations?

          Actually they do (especially some years ago).

          I manage, like most, computers of older or computer-challenged family members, and having them all staffed out with Firefox, I found them every week browsing in Chrome, over and over again. Don't you remember, at that time a staggering amount of installs and updates did also made a stealth install of Chrome and made it secretly the default browser.

          How do you think Chrome became overnight the majority browser? It wasn't that good... But it did shamelessly commandeer the computers of millions of unsuspecting people who never noticed the difference.

          1. Timmy B Silver badge

            Also it's very hard now for the average user to use the internet and not use a google service of some kind. It's even harder for them to use a google service and not have a pop-up proclaim the virtues of chrome every 30 seconds.

    3. khjohansen
      Devil

      RE: Really, why are they bothering?

      Embrace, Extend ...

      1. gcla72
        Gimp

        Re: RE: Really, why are they bothering?

        Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun the Chrome War has.

    4. Halfmad

      Because Bing brings in a huge amount of revenue for them simply by being default on MS browsers. The more browsers the better particularly if they can get direct competition in Chromium/Chrome browsers.

    5. 97browng

      I thought the same at first. However I can see how it might work, in the corporate world.

      We like many others are currently stuck with IE11 as a default browser (as well as Edge). The company does not allow Chrome or Firefox :(

      I assume the new Edge will be wrapped up in Windows with 'easily' manageable tools so the company will have no reason/choice other than to allow it. So now (unlike with old Edge) you have a reasonable browser that people can use in work and at home.

    6. David Gosnell

      As I noted previously...

      It'll all be tied in with their Windows 10S locked down browser model. They want people to love 10S and walled gardens, but know that Edge has been the kicker up until now, prompting many users to opt out if they ever bought the product at all. With Chromium behind it, they can push this angle much more confidently, and therefore lucratively - and probably even remove the opt-out option in the process.

  2. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I understand why Microsoft wants a browser built into Windows 10 but if your a Chrome user already what is the advantage of switching, unless you are really anti Google? But I would hardly trust Microsoft any more than I would Google with my personal data.

    You would be better off with the open source Chromium browser if you need Chrome extensions compatibility but don't want Microsoft or Google to slurp your data.

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      I'd go for Vivaldi in that case. Plenty of Chromium browsers out there that dont exist purely to slurp all your data for MS/Google. And unlike Edgium, Vivaldi actually tries to be a noticeably different browser to Chrome

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        +1 for Vivaldi.

        Where has the "Close tabs to the left" option been all my life?

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
          Devil

          Notepad++ although yes its only for text files :P

          On a serious note I can't remember if Opera had this on tabs.

          1. My-Handle

            *Reads post*

            *Flicks to currently open instance of N++ with 12 open tabs*

            *right-clicks a tab*

            Bloody hell, I never knew that was there. Cheers.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      If you are setting up a new Windows 10 installation, what would be the advantage of installing Chrome vs changing the default search engine?

      1. Law

        "If you are setting up a new Windows 10 installation, what would be the advantage of installing Chrome vs changing the default search engine?"

        When it stops working every other week because one of the Microsoft services they replaced the Google services with breaks because Azure's buggered up again...?

        +1 for Vivaldi, though I still use Chrome at work.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, it's a turd...

    ...that wraps another turd.

    Sweet.

  4. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Now go wash your hands

  5. Don The Elder
    Big Brother

    Privacy? We've heard of it,

    What about privacy options? I was just cleaning up my DOMStore, then went to INetCookies and (I'm shocked- shocked) discovered that some third-party site cookies. Checking my Privacy settings I found that IE11 had changed 1st > Prompt 3rd > Block to > Always > Always. Oddly enough, there are none in Low. And the DOMStore in AppData > LocalLow hasn't collected any in 8 months. I'll have to do a comprehensive search to see if there are other folders, with this sneakware change. I've always hated having the store dick following me; that's why I've stuck with IE11. I knew the color of his moustache.

    1. Craig100

      Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

      I've been using Brave as my default for 5 months now, including for web development. Hasn't put a foot wrong so far. Anyone else?

      1. revenant Bronze badge

        Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

        I use Brave on Android. Everywhere else (Linux and Windows) I use Palemoon. I suppose I shouldn't even have been reading this article, but I was bored.

        1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
          Joke

          Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

          Upvote for Pale Moon. Now going to go into a corner, drink coffee and smile, smugly, to myself.

          I'd stroke a white cat as well, but none of our cats are white and they won't sit still for long enough anyway.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

            but none of our cats are white and they won't sit still for long enough anyway

            Number 7 cat is relatively normal[1] and will actually come and sit on a lap if you sit still long enough. Although, she is only 18 months old and gets bored easily[2] and soon leaves.

            [1] Compared to our other cats anyway. Although that's not a terribly high bar[3]..

            [2] Which means her attention span is measured in the seconds rather than tens of seconds..

            [3] There's the female that thinks she's a dog, the one that's paranoid[4] about everything, even her own mother, the one that still seems to think she's a kitten, even though she had kittens when we rescued her (and now has a pelvis held together with titanium and no tail after forgetting her Green Cross Code), the two ex-feral farm cats with multiple personality disorder and the other cat that thinks he's a dog..

            [4] She's a calico (who are paranoid at the best of times) but she raises it to a whole new level. We suspect that's she even thinks her paranoia is out to get her..

        2. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

          Are they replacing blocked ads with their own vetted ads yet (at least that's what Wiki says they want to do)?

          Not trying to bash them, as have not tried it - I'd be interested in a non-Google browser that synched various things (e.g. form fill data) securely between my phone and PC (which seems to be a Beta feature of Brave at the moment). Vivaldi doesn't seem to be available on the phone

          1. slartybartfast

            Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

            Vivaldi isn't 'non Google' as it uses the Chromium engine. Of the main PC browsers, I think now only Firefox isn't Chromium.

          2. //DLBL SYSRES

            Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

            Firefox does a decent syncing job between disparate devices,

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

        Dont trust brave. Small outfit, vague privacy policy, no track record.

        Sticking with Google, you know where are, they do exactly as they say they do, and are scrutinised under a microscope by privacy nutters works over.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. revenant Bronze badge
            Happy

            Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

            I thought it was bad form to out someone like that?

            Still, it was entertaining reading his posts.

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

              To be fair, there was only one post, with permutations of the trimmings.

            2. RyokuMas Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

              "I thought it was bad form to out someone like that?"

              Everyone's thinkin' it, I'm just sayin' it...

          2. //DLBL SYSRES

            Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

            Is this "doxxing"? bloody odd word.

        2. FIA

          Re: Privacy? We've heard of it,

          Dont trust brave. Small outfit, vague privacy policy, no track record.

          Good advice.

          Sticking with Google, you know where are,

          Large outfit, vague privacy policy, poor track record?

          they do exactly as they say they do,

          Do they?

          and are scrutinised under a microscope by privacy nutters works over.

          Privacy nutters have little power, and regulators currently seem much less concerned.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So does this mean....

    That Microsoft is quitting on having its own rendering engine? I’m no fan of Edge but Chromium and Chrome need the competition. Didn’t Firefox do the same and quit on Gecko?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So does this mean....

      Do we don't. We have a web standard rendering engine now. That great news. You code and test for blink and it just works. Firefox will be next, for sure

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We have a web standard rendering engine now.

        We had one before. It was called ie6.

        Think it through.

    2. DJV Silver badge

      "Didn’t Firefox do the same and quit on Gecko?"

      No, Gecko is still around but Mozilla have been enhancing Gecko with Quantum (or something like that)! These two links sort of explain* things:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_(Mozilla)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gecko_(software)

      * or confuse the reader further - I just read parts and am still not exactly clear on things!

      1. Test Man

        Re: "Didn’t Firefox do the same and quit on Gecko?"

        Yeah you're right. Quantum was the project name though (the project to enhance Firefox and the engine), it's not the browser (still Firefox) or the engine (still Gecko).

  7. Sven Coenye
    WTF?

    Say what?

    "the browser is stable and the fact you're reading this indicates that sites such as The Register's own content management system run without issue."

    Thank you for that revelation! I've always attributed that to Waterfox. My bad...

    Now, does all this mean Chromium is now an essential and inextricable part of Windows, or is Edge now uninstallable? Inquiring minds and all that...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    great...

    I already get shuffled between Edge and IE on my company laptop all day long (they went all-in with Windows 10, then found out that some of the internal web apps won't work on Edge, so they do some magic redirecting to open in IE). Is there going to be a "compatibility mode" or "classic" Edge for wonky websites? So much for single sign on...

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: great...

      Likewise, along with those apps that only work under Chrome with IE Tab pretending to be IE7.

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: great...

      So much for single sign on...

      What ?

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: great...

        It's the dating app for the unemployed...

        1. Sir Gaz of Laz

          Re: great...

          One wonders what type of "job" they'd be hoping to get...

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: great...

      "they went all-in with Windows 10, then found out that some of the internal web apps won't work on Edge, so they do some magic redirecting to open in IE!"

      That's called Enterprise Mode in the Edge browser. Probably one of the main reasons they needed to rewrite Chromium to work for them. That and hopefully proper GPO management support.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: great...

        "That and hopefully proper GPO management support."

        Chromium has had proper GPO support for years. It's always been miles easier to manage than IE/Edge too, which are ridiculously fiddly to configure compared to any other browser.

      2. Maventi

        Re: great...

        > That's called Enterprise Mode in the Edge browser.

        Further proof (if it were ever needed) that in the tech world 'enterprise' is little more than a synonym for 'legacy'.

  9. Tom 64
    Coffee/keyboard

    Can't beat 'em? Join 'em

    ... and insidiously kill from the inside.

    Another great reason to switch to Firefox.

  10. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    New fangled nonsense.

    Still happily using Gopher here.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: New fangled nonsense.

      Stuff your land-based animals. I'm using butterflies. Obligatory XKCD

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: New fangled nonsense.

        What's wrong with nano?

        Some of us learned our trade on 2nd hand minicomputers at polytechnics with no budget for extras. Pico was all we had.

        In terms of four yorkshiremen luxury, it should be emacs, vim, nano, ed, butterflies, not nano, emacs, vim, ed, butterflies.

        Try programming on a Bull GCOS env, nothing but a line editor and TEX

        1. Trollslayer Silver badge

          Re: New fangled nonsense.

          I use it at work occasionally, it has it's place.

          On the embedded products I have use vi and that gets the job done.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: New fangled nonsense.

          "emacs, vim, nano, ed" I had to look those up - legacy OS / Unix type green screen text editors?

          In my experience, across multiple sets of > 50K users, real programmers actually use Notepad++

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Monoculture?

    Just waiting for the worldwide meltdown now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monoculture?

      The "worldwide meltdown" is starting in Canada as we're warming twice as fast most of the rest of the world. Oh, wrong subject... ;)

  12. tempemeaty
    Facepalm

    Sooo...uhhh...

    Is Microsoft admitting, as a large software company, they can't make competitive software of their own now?

    >.>

    <.<

    Next. Windows 11 built on a Unix/Linux of some kind?

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Sooo...uhhh...

      It's the logical next step as a way to copy Apple.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Devil

      Re: Sooo...uhhh...

      Apple used a BSD variant, so maybe Microsoft will buy what's left of SCO and build on that, just to be different...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sooo...uhhh...

      "Next. Windows 11 built on a Unix/Linux of some kind?"

      More likely you will see more versions of Linux built on the Window kernel. They already fully emulated that under Windows.

  13. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Future History.

    1st few versions of "copied" software stick very close to the "borrowed" version; then as soon as they have a large market share they will start buggering around in the belief they now have a captive audience.

    Mid versions will suddenly not support open standards, because.

    Late versions wont even support established microgit standards and fall over a lot.

    Microgit will pinch code, look and feel from whatever 3rd party rival takes their market share and start all over again.

  14. RyokuMas Silver badge

    So long as...

    ... Ghostery, Adblock Plus and FB Purity all work, I might give it a look.

    1. SabreMogDawg

      Re: So long as...

      if Adblock aint there, use ublock origin, I found it way better to use

  15. tiggity Silver badge

    Would prefer MS did their own browser

    Yes they caused chaos in the past with standards brealkng IE only stuff... and I do not wnat a repeat of that scenario (befre anyone puts the boot in on taht point)

    .. Similarly a browser should not be an integral part of the OS as were so many IE components for so long, it should just be another application.

    I would like plenty of choice in the browser arena though & MS really ought to have kept their flagship browser going.

    The browser choices are getting too chromium dependent for my liking - not happy with single point of failure / common attack vector, would like a more mixed browser "ecosystem": There will always be browser bugs / exploits, but zero day browser bugs become mega when a huge percentage of people are using esentially the same browser with a few customized tweaks on top.

    1. slartybartfast

      Re: Would prefer MS did their own browser

      Stick with the non-Chromium Firefox.

  16. Fursty Ferret

    I should think that Microsoft would be over the moon if they could bundle Chrome as the default browser in Windows 10. This hasn't happened for various reasons - they wanted a version that could live in their store - but you need to ask yourself: what does Microsoft get out of you using Edgium and why would they invest considerable amounts in making something that's effectively a copy of Chrome if they could have bundled the real thing?

    It's not surprising that Bing is the default search provider, but the story is, as usual, more complicated behind the scenes than comes across in a Reg article about MS.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Chrome Chromium confusion

      Granted, if you enter Chromium vs Chrome in a web search, you do get some pretty top level examples of the difference, from the color of the icons to the fact that chromium is used to make chrome plating.

      There would be no benefit to Ms from including Chrome, stuffing a version of Chromium with their own extra crap may be of benefit to them.

      Google adds extra video codecs and other ease of use inducements to Chrome to encourage it's use over Chromium, but then, aside from ChromeOS and Android, they have to bait for an install unless OEMS bundle it with their machines for them.

      I wonder what, if any MS will offer to encourage the use of it's new frankenbrowser.

    2. Havin_it

      Rubbish. The article explains quite adequately the (very simple) reasoning: Edgium sends your data to Microsoft, not to Google. That data is, nowadays, the only compelling reason for being in the browser business (not counting those Mozilla loons who do it for fun).

      And the investment required to put your own UI skin on someone else's engine is piss-all compared to maintaining your own engine. This move probably let them shed a few developer salaries.

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        True in a lot of sense, however there are other ways of making money. Pale Moon for example gets a chunk of its funding via searches made with DuckDuckGo via the search box. And remember that Mozilla got a lot of cash (for many years) from Google due to being the default search engine.

      2. overunder

        "That data is, nowadays, the only compelling reason for being in the browser business..."

        Not "compelling", more like greedy and scummy.

        On a related note, I'm surprised Amazon hasn't made a 100% spy free browser just to knock out all players except Firefox. Of any company that could profit from that and afford that, it's Amazon, certainly.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Why would Amazon want to do that? Browsers are pretty much given away for free. So you have to consider, when deciding to write one, what the benefit will be to you. So far, the benefits have been:

          IE: User lockin to Microsoft OS.

          Netscape: Commercial, browser and later connected products but not browser sold to people.

          Firefox: Nonprofit, going for open source. Some proceeds from linked services (Google as default search engine, etc.) to support development.

          Chrome: Data! Your data! On our systems!

          Chromium: If we make this open source, people will fix the problems we made and we don't have to pay them. And later, people will use this and we can gain market share.

          Safari: We're Apple. We build everything that runs on our systems. Our systems want a browser, so we're going to make one. (Side note: Safari uses webkit, which is also not chromium.)

          Edge: Data! Your data! On our systems!

          Edge-chromium: Data! Your data! On our systems!

          If Amazon were to write a browser and remove all the tracking, what would they get? They wouldn't get data. They wouldn't be able to lock people in to another system. The only thing I can see is being able to advertise a bunch of Amazon products, but if they're not tracking your activity, they're likely to advertise a bunch of junk that nobody wants anyway. If they did decide to make a browser, I am certain it would track too; it doesn't benefit them sufficiently otherwise.

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Windows

      IE has had remote exec vulns in almost every Patch Tuesday over several decades and Edge was following suit, so something had to be done.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        "IE has had remote exec vulns in almost every Patch Tuesday over several decades and Edge was following suit, so something had to be done."

        Google Chrome has a pretty extensive list too.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Coat

          Edge has had THREE TIMES more exec vulns over the past 4 years than Chrome, and Chrome has been around for 11 years!

          https://www.cvedetails.com/product/32367/?q=Edge

          https://www.cvedetails.com/product/15031/Google-Chrome.html?vendor_id=1224

  17. Shady
    Happy

    Windows 11......

    Ubuntu with a Fluent Design skin?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Windows 11......

      Ubuntunlikely,

      MS are not investing heavily enough in Wine, and I doubt their Azure services is nearly lucrative enough yet to abandon their platform licencing income.

      MS only 'loves' linux when it's running on top of a fee paying MS licence.

  18. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Duplicate installation

    Of Microsoft Chrome and Google Chrome.

    Why?

  19. gungho

    Well at least they're realising what we all knew, IE/Edge was a pile of poo.

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Except Edge isn't. I swapped to it a while ago. It's faster and more stable than Chrome. And WAY faster than Firefox - something I've always found terribly clunky. But looking at the insider build there is exactly NOTHING that would make me use this over Brave (another chromium based browser). It currently has a terrible UI (the same as Chromes) terrible settings screens. It's no faster than Edge, Brave or Chrome. It has lost many of the features that Edge had that were actually decent (pen annotations, pinning of sites to anywhere except the DESKTOP!) has no usable history screen has a download system that's broken.

      If nobody used Edge classic then less than nobody will use new Edge!

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        The problem is that in a work environment Edge becomes almost unusable. It's fine for standard web browsing, but when logging into devices remotely, or anything that (shudder) has to have a flash plugin it just breaks. I've lost count of how many times I've seen the "we can't open that as it uses an unsafe TLS setting" type error which you don't get opening the same site in Chrome. Not to mention the times I've opened regular websites to be told it can't open them, unless you wait about 10 minutes and then try because for some reason it won't work if you've been logged into your PC for less than 10 minutes.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Windows

          unless you wait about 10 minutes and then try because for some reason it won't work if you've been logged into your PC for less than 10 minutes.

          That is not the website, that is sneaky Windows trying to trick you into believing it only needs 5 seconds longer to start than GNU/Linux; apparently, yours needs a full TEN minutes longer ... poor you ;-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "we can't open that as it uses an unsafe TLS setting"

          That's your work choosing to enforce TLS 1.2 because they easily can in Edge via a GPO. Not a fault with Edge at all. And you allow Chrome in a work environment?!

      2. slartybartfast

        Edge's privacy settings are pretty poor though.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Edge's privacy settings are pretty poor though.

          Nice to see MS have finally gotten some sort of matching uniformity in Windows settings.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          But are still better than Google's privacy settings in Chrome.

  20. Suizid

    "You say Edgium"

    Actually, I say Chintium Edgeplorer, but I'll let you off.

  21. IGnatius T Foobar !

    It's a new game now.

    Micro$oft have realized that the old adage "whoever controls the browser, controls the Internet" is no longer true. It might not have ever been true. Micro$oft no longer cares what browser you're running as long as you pay them monthly for cloud services like Office 365 and/or Azure.

    So if they're going to pull any dirty tricks, it'll be to shift as much of your workload into their cloud, whether you want to or not. Look for mandatory logins to their cloud, which they push you to already, but it's going to get even more draconian.

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