Microsoft's new Edge browser, a Chrome cousin, is ready to download
Microsoft spent the last year giving its Edge software a browser brain transplant, and now the company is convinced it's smart enough to help everyone who uses it. Microsoft stripped the beta label from the browser on Wednesday, and you can now download it from Microsoft's Edge website. Introduced in 2015, Edge was part of a modernization effort that stripped out old Internet Explorer code.
The software giant couldn't couldn't keep the browser compatible with enough websites, however, and customers started dumping it. The new version of Edge marks a foundational change in the browser: a shift to Chromium, Google's open-source foundation for the Chrome browser. Using Chromium resolves those compatibility problems. The new version of the browser has a different logo -- a circular crashing wave tinted blue, green and aqua that's reminiscent of the old blue IE "e" icon. "The new Microsoft Edge is now available to download on all supported versions of Windows and MacOS in more than 90 languages," Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Windows, said in a blog post. Microsoft isn't yet pushing the software to your PC. Shifting to Chromium -- a decision already made by developers of Samsung, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera and others -- adds even more influence to Google's vision for the web.
Those allies collaborate with Google, but Google still holds outsized influence compared with the remaining browser engines, Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari. Some bemoan the loss of Microsoft's independent influence, but the practical reality is that it held minimal sway. More and more, it's Google's web, and we're just living in it.
Productivity is represented by features like Collections, which lets you amass information from lots of websites as you're planning travel, researching a paper or otherwise digging deeper into the web. Edge also dovetails with Microsoft's sign-in technology used in businesses so your Edge login information is the same as your email.
As for privacy, Edge is taking a similar approach to Mozilla's Firefox by trying to block a list of known sites that track you online. It's related to Apple's anti-tracking technology already in Safari and Brave, too. Google's Chrome is the laggard here, but Google is ramping up its browser privacy effort. So Edge's privacy protections don't lift it above the crowd, at least for now.
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