Is Microsoft Edge Taking Over?

Category: Browsers

Yesterday I awoke to find that my Windows 10 computer had been restarted, and some updates applied. After logging in, I was surprised to see a Microsoft Edge browser window open on my screen. But it looked REALLY similar to the Google Chrome browser I've been using for years. Read on to learn about the updated Microsoft Edge browser, and if you should accept Microsoft's urging to switch...

The New Microsoft Edge Browser

There's a reason why the new Microsoft Edge looks and acts almost exactly the same as Google Chrome. That's because Microsoft decided back in December 2018 to abandon their own code base for Edge, and rebuild it using the open-source Chromium code base, which is also the foundational code for Google Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and other alternative browsers. All of these browsers have the same rendering engine (the code that controls the layout and display of web pages), the same basic controls, and support the use of Chrome browser extensions. (Firefox and Safari both use their own distinct code bases.)

So that's why the new Edge looks and feels so similar to Google Chrome. If you’re using Windows 10 Version 1903 (May 2019 Update), Version 1909 (November 2019 Update), or Version 2004 (May 2020 Update), the new Edge browser will be automatically installed on your computer via Windows Update. Going forward, Microsoft Edge will be updated every six weeks, just like Chrome, instead of following the Windows 10 "every six months" update schedule.

After Edge installed itself and went through the setup process, I was surprised that my bookmarks toolbar and all my Chrome extensions were imported to Edge. Other items imported from Chrome to Edge include saved passwords, payment methods, and browsing history (but not cookies). I opened Chrome and Edge side by side on my dual screen setup, and visually, they look nearly identical. Navigation controls are the same.

The New Chromium-Based Edge Browser

Even though Edge is now based on the same codebase as Google Chrome, that doesn't mean that Google will have access to your Edge browsing history or data. The browsers are distinct from each other, including their proprietary ecosystems.

And it doesn't mean the browser wars are over. Microsoft would dearly love for you to use Edge, just as much as Google wants you to use Chrome. That gives them better control over your choice of search engine, and which ads are displayed to users.

Within seconds of the Edge browser opening the Gmail page on my computer, I got a popup from Google recommending that I switch to Chrome. Microsoft does the same, asking Chrome users who visit the Bing search site to switch to Edge. And now that Edge is available on Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android (and soon Linux) devices, that's a lot of screen real estate to vie for.

Bing vs. Chrome: So What's Different?

Just a few things, really. Edge calls bookmarks "favorites" but otherwise they function the same way. Your settings and bookmarks are synced across devices, but with your Microsoft account instead of a Google account. The “collections” feature from the old Edge was carried over, and a "read aloud" option will read the text on a web page to you, with controls for the speed and a selection of different voices.

Edge also has some new privacy controls. Click the "three-dots" icon in the upper right corner, click Settings, then "Privacy and Services". Basic, Balanced, and Strict options are explained, with caveats on how changing the setting may affect your web browsing experience.

Microsoft began rolling out the Chromium-based Edge browser via Windows Update on June 3rd, so you if you're running a recent version of Windows 10, you will have it soon, if not already. If you can’t wait, you can find the download link for the new Edge on Microsoft’s website.

I see Microsoft’s adoption of the open-source Chromium code base as a good thing. For one, it will result in more web pages displaying the same for more users. The old Edge based on EdgeHTML used a proprietary rendering engine, and sometimes pages coded to Web standards would look different on Edge and Chrome. Web developers no longer have to finagle their code to accommodate those differences. In addition, Microsoft's development team will add significantly to the number of coders available to fix Chromium bugs and add new features that can be adopted by other browsers that use the Chromium code.

Have you tried the new Edge browser? Will you switch as a result, or stay with your current browser? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Is Microsoft Edge Taking Over?"

(See all 59 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

22 Jun 2020

The moment they pulled this fast one with ASKING me first was the end of any possibility my using Edge.

Posted by:

22 Jun 2020

The previous comment should have read "without"

Posted by:

Robert A
22 Jun 2020

I downloaded Edge on purpose to try it out. I hate Google Chrome because of the amount of malware (PUPs) that land on my computer everytime I log onto it. I find Edge to be just as good as Chrome without picking up all the PUPs when I go online.

I was using Firefox while avoiding Chrome, but now I am sticking with Edge. It is fast.

Posted by:

22 Jun 2020

My Edge updated but my default browser has always been and will remain Firefox.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2020

W10 update really really messed up a lot of printers with the last update. Its all over the net. It's broke. So I did a System Restore to an earlier date and then I postponed the auto update till July 29 and I got everything back. If you don't like edge, you can do what I did.

Posted by:

Brummagem Flash
23 Jun 2020

Whatever happened to moral boundaries?
i'm sick of mSOFT's failures, and I'm sick of all unsolicited FOISTWARE. How very dare mS manipulate private info-data from within my non-mS browser which is NOT part of Windows operating system - the only mS-ware I use - and therefore not to be interfered with WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.
I've NEVER used mS Edge - I deactivated it as best I could - but now it's back bothering me with pop-ups and such sheet. This antagonises me no end: I'll redouble my advice to others NOT to trust mS with the security of personal data, as they patently do NOT respect our privacy.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2020

Probably won't switch to Edge any time soon. I favor Firefox over all the rest. I will use Chromium (but never Chrome) as a backup if necessary. Edge comes in at a distant third. But then, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so kudos to MS for finally coming round to Chromium.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2020

I have little trust of Microsoft, and even less of Google, who censors free speech on YouTube. Way back in 1989 when I got my first computer I used Netscape for years, then they became Firefox, which I still use today. I love the way FF operates, have zero need for either Chrome or Edge.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2020

I've just had my Win10 laptop updated with the new Edge. I've not used the old Edge, and see no reason to change my mind; I suspect that, like the XBox programmes installed in W10, it'll be installed in reinforced concrete; I just won't use it. I use Opera as my main browser (I'm not quite so paranoid about China, who probably don't find my browsing for model railroad stock quite a national security measure) partly because it comes with a VPN - with Vivaldi as an alternative. I keep Firefox as a backup for one particular add-on that only works on FF, Chrome and IE. It takes so long the load that it's of no use as a main browser. I don't trust MS or Google with my personal data; I detests MS's *need* to have me sign in to an MS account just to play solitaire; to insist that my experience is incomplete without XBox involvement and sharing everything I do.
I can understand the mercantile desire for companies to try to gain as much information as they can from 'customers' - but they should ask me FIRST - and not disable my experience if I don't agree.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2020

I'm tired of the Microsoft bashing.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2020

Sorry - I didn't finish. If you don't like how Microsoft is changing Windows, then don't use it. There are three very-strong alternatives: iOS, Linux and ChromeOS. (2 if you hate Google too.) Linux is even free, and runs on anything.

If the argument is, "I don't like them changing things," then turn off all updates and accept the consequences. Things break when they get old, get viruses, and generally don't work as well as when new. This goes for people too.

Accept change, you have no control over the outside world. Learning is change, and only the dead are not affected. Stealing a quote from Leo Notenboom: You have exactly two and only two options: "Get angry and bitter and convince yourself that the change-makers are responsible for all sorts of assorted evils in the world ... or ... Accept change. Embrace it. Learn from it. Exploit it. See how it’s made the world a much, much better place. Enjoy it, even."

Posted by:

24 Jun 2020

I don't like the Windows 10 OS or the Edge browser that comes with it. It suffers from 'muchness' and uses convoluted jargon instead of plain old stupid, simple, basic English that most people are used to. TEN has too many things going on that very few users actually need.

Not only that, but it looks to me that Billy's Microsoft (is it still his?) very much wants to have access to everything that people do on the Internet. . ..

No, thanks, but I'll keep on using Opera browser with reliable, privacy-minded old Ducky as my search. Cheers to you all!

Posted by:

25 Jun 2020

Edge won't flush. It's there and I have to kill it. If you open Outlook and link to a web page, it usually can't find the page. Wow,that's impressing web programming... (Sarcasm) Sorry, I don't care about those news items that are thrown in my face. It just uses computer memory. It also hijacks PDFs that are supposed to be for adobe.

"Change" is up to the individual, not the tyrant.

Okay - Question will deleting this mess up the system?

Posted by:

26 Jun 2020

50 shades of spying and control. It is very difficult to stay under the radar. In our busy days it is very difficult to find time to maneuver between spying software and web sites traps. If you have a social and political life, and another profession it is no time left to fight them.

Posted by:

26 Jun 2020

I m still operating on Windows 7 Pro. Because MS dropped support for this operating system, imagine my surprise when they updated my computer during the night with an installation of the Edge browser. Thank you Bob for your article of June 22, 2020, which explained what Edge is and isn't. I will probably download the browser and see how it compares to Chrome, which I do use. It is not an issue to me that MS did this as I believe that when I use their operating system I am at their mercy. Really it is no different than having Apple run my iphone.

Understand that I do not approve of the policies of the big tech companies, but technology allows me to communicate and research what drives my passion for my faith, family and country. I use these giants more than they use me. I am unchanged by them because I know where I stand. My foundation is firm unlike the winds that puff them up.

Posted by:

03 Jul 2020

Sticking with FF and DDgo - see no reason to change - annoying that Edge inserted itself on my Win 7 computers! - they won't service Win 7 any more but still use their access to it to put stuff on my computer that I haven't asked for - annoying.....never liked pushy sales tactics in the physical world - like it even less in the cyber one that brings stuff straight into my home!

Posted by:

Robert Lee
07 Jul 2020

Does the new Edge use less RAM than the old Edge? Which browser consumes least RAM?

Posted by:

31 Dec 2020

I've used Firefox along with Chrome for a long time. I really like how Firefox with alphabetize Bookmarks with a right click and in Chrome, it's much harder. However, Firefox has begun to not load web pages so I copy the URL and post in Chrome or Edge to get it opened. Therefore, that is a negative for Firefox. Am not sure how well Edge will do these tasks, but am using it more these days to check it out.

Posted by:

06 Jan 2021

I am still of the opinion that it should be against the law (illegal) to secrete any app or program whether it is a good app, spam, or pup, which the user has not requested onto any PC, I don't know what Google think about M'Soft pinching their users but I will not use any app I didn't install myself as a matter of principle!! if the app is any good word of mouth will attract new users

Posted by:

Mark Hayworth
27 Jan 2021

I still use Firefox, despite its sub where its memory usage grows and grows until it becomes very sluggish and eventually crashes, because it lets me pin the bookmark panel on the left side of the screen. Edge removed that from Internet Explorer, but they've announced they will put it back in someday. Google refuses, despite years of outcries from users, to let you pin a bookmark panel because their insane, steadfast insistence on a bare bones GUI, despite users not wanting that and wanting a bookmark panel permanently displayed.

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