Edge Chromium is coming

Microsoft, after years of doing their own thing in terms of browser development, are joining the existing stable of Chrome-based browsers (e.g. Google Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi etc.) with the release of their new Edge Chromium browser on January 15th, 2020.

Edge Chromium’s initial deployment will be as part of a Microsoft standard update and the new browser will work on all Windows platforms from 7 onwards – Windows 7, 8 and 10, and macOS.

The Beta version, publicly available since August 2019, has already provided some clear idea of the benefits that will be available in January. Here are just a few of the benefits arguably of most interest to the average user.

Security. Chromium syncs your favourites, passwords, tabs, etc all managed securely via your Azure Active Directory (Office 365) account, providing better corporate control compared to syncing with Google services.

Speed. In benchmark testing, Edge Chromium is much faster than Internet Explorer (IE) and the current Edge browser. More significantly, it is the equal of Chrome.

Interface. The all new interface, rewritten for Chrome, provides the familiar Chrome menu structure, allowing synchronisation of passwords and addresses etc. with an Azure account. Three page-layout options are available:

  • Focused – highlighting the search bar and recent pages visited
  • Inspirational – adds a photo background to the above
  • Informational – adds information from the Microsoft news feed

Tracking Protection. Prevents tracking and sharing of information relating to websites a user has visited. Three settings – Basic, Balanced and Strict – allow the user to select the level of protection versus functionality they require.The ‘Balanced’ setting is recommended and should, as you might expect, be the optimum setting for most users.

Immersive Reader. One click removes all the peripheral items and click-bait links from around whatever webpage a user is reading, allowing users to read only what they want without all the distractions.

Grammar Tools. Working in conjunction with Immersive Reader, this function allows readers to highlight any combination of nouns, verbs and adjectives on any webpage being read.

There are of course many other benefits, all of which will be useful and desirable to some but not all users.Examples include: Extensions, Collections, Progressive Web Apps, Dark Theme and Picture-in-Picture.

Of course, some users may never want to use Edge Chromium and that’s fine – it’ll just sit harmlessly on their machine (possibly much like the current Edge does?) – as they continue with their familiar browser. However, for those who specifically don’t want Edge Chromium on their machine there are ways to prevent it downloading and for removing it if already installed.

For help with installing, preventing installation, uninstalling or getting the most out of Edge Chromium, talk to the experts here at The IT Agency – call us on (02) 8317 4730.