Microsoft is planning to replace its Edge browser with a new version based on Google’s engine called Chromium, and now an early preview has leaked online revealing a first look of the new interface and features of the new browser.
Although the new version of Microsoft Edge shares many design similarities found in Google Chrome, the company has been adding its own design touches and features for a product that looks a lot like the old browser that works just like Chrome.
After downloading and installing the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge, you’ll need to go through the setup process that allows you to quickly import your bookmarks, history, and passwords from your current default browser (such as Edge, Chrome, or Firefox). In addition, you’ll be prompted to enable sync, and you will need to choose the default style for your default tab (inspirational, informational, or focused).
Once everything is configured, if you have been using the old version of Edge or Chrome, the experience will feel very familiar, which means that there isn’t a huge learning curve to understand the application.
At first glance, the browser looks similar like the traditional version of Microsoft Edge, and the way you open and close tabs, main menu, and new tabs work just like before, but without the “Set Aside” feature, and now there’s a profile button to manage settings or switch profiles. (Yes, with the new Edge, you can have different user profiles, just like Chrome.)
Microsoft Edge new settings
When you open the browser settings that’s when things look different. In this new version, the settings experience is similar to the Chrome experience. Instead of a flyout pane, the settings are laid out in full-size page with a left pane navigation.
There’s a search box to quickly find settings, you can manage your Profile settings, such as sync options, passwords, payment info, autofill data, and more.
In the Appearance page, you can customize the home button, favorites bar, fonts, and more, but you can’t still switch to the dark mode, because it’s not fully implemented. (However, the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge support dark mode enabling an experimental advanced flag option.)
On Startup, you can select the startup behavior of the browser, such as if you want to keep up where you left off and more.
The Privacy and services page house your settings like “Do Not Track,” manager certificates, and Windows Defender SmartScreen, and here is where you can control and delete your cookies, browsing history, and other data.
The Site permissions page is where you can control the permissions that websites are allowed to access, such as microphone, location, cookies, Flash, camera, etc.
In the Downloads page, you can configure the default download location for files.
The Languages page allows you to add and remove display languages to use the browser, and you can even control spelling settings.
You’ll also find a Printing page, but currently it only includes a link to control the printer settings using the Windows 10 settings.
The System page, similar to Chrome, allows you run Microsoft Edge in background after is close to faster startup and performance of the browser. You can enable and disable hardware acceleration, and you can configure your proxy settings.
The Reset settings page, as the name implies, allows you to reset the Microsoft Edge settings when things are not working correctly, or you just want to start from scratch.
Finally, the About page includes version number and other information about the Chromium browser.
Microsoft Edge Extensions
Of course, Microsoft Edge also ships with support for extensions. In addition, this browser will also support Chrome extensions from the online store. (You just need to enable the “Allow extensions from other stores” setting.)
Sync support for extension will be supported, but it’s not yet available. In this early preview, you can only sync your bookmarks.
Alongside the new features, you also get InPrivate mode. The developers tools is the same found in Chrome, and you can access the
edge://flags/ to enable and disable advanced settings.
Although this is an early version of a completely new browser, the new Edge feels stable and almost a complete “version 1.0” product. However, it’s worth noting that using a pre-build engine makes it a lot easier to create a browser from scratch.
Microsoft hasn’t publicly announced when the Edge based on Chromium will be available, but since the leaked version, it’s possible that a public preview can arrive in the coming weeks. Also, the browser is expected to be available as separate download for Windows 10 as well as for Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and macOS