Microsoft is kind of Edge(y)

After months of waiting, Microsoft has finally released the first public builds of its new Edge browser. And boy was it worth it. As I wrote in Headed Towards The Open Edge, last year Microsoft announced that they would be moving to a Chromium-based browser to focus their efforts on the actual browser and less the rendering engine. While I expected a build a couple of months ago, I am very impressed with the progress I have seen so far.

The new Edge default look and feel

Edge was in need of a reboot, not necessarily a rebrand, but it just wasn’t cutting it for many users and the slow pace on which it was updated was way behind the competition who routinely issue new browsers every 6 weeks. In fact one day, (one day!) after releasing the first public canary build, they released a new build today! That may have happened internally before, but this was a first for an external build of a Microsoft browser.

Edge New Tab Page
My New Tab Page on Edge

In releasing Edge Microsoft will follow the Chromium model and have releases in different “channels” based on how far along the version is towards release. The channel for “Normals” will be Release and at the opposite end will be the Canary channel that will receive nightly builds, with Beta and Dev channels in between. The two channels that are open right now are the Canary and the Dev. After spending time with both (you can install them side by side, even with the original Edge), they are both in great shape! Yes they are early, and the team is taking great feedback on Twitter and on the tech communities, but its good enough for me to be a daily driver. In fact on my main work PC I am using the Canary as my default and I am using the Dev as my default at home.

Many people will note the similarity to Chrome at this point, but there are still a lot of things missing that Microsoft plans to add that will help differentiate it from Chrome and bridge that gap between the missing features from the traditional Edge Browser. Which, by the way, is not going anywhere anytime soon, and again can run just fine side by side with either or both of the Edgium builds. Some of the early fit and finish looks great, such as the install experience that allows you to customize your new tab page, as well as the Microsoft Account setup, and the settings page.

New Edge Settings Menu
The new Settings Menu and Update Checker

I haven’t been this excited about a MS browser in a while. This will have huge implications for the market, and is a win for consumers, professionals, developers and the like. We have begun testing it at work, and will begin to rollout as soon as we can once it hits the release channel.

If you are interested I urge you to check it out and for a good initial write up check out Paul Thurrott’s guide to living on the new Edge. But beware this is still an early release and there will be bugs, it is part of the process, so it is not for the faint of heart.

Chris Gahlsdorf

I have been a System Administrator for 15 years now. I have been an avid Microsoft fan for over 20. From my first 486 with Windows 3.0 to my latest custom rig with Windows 11. I have gone from tinkering, to programming, to managing servers, and virtualization. I am a Windows Insider MVP as part of the Windows Insider Program.

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