Today Microsoft released the new, Chromium-based version of its Edge browser. Chromium is the open standard that Google uses as the basis for Chrome, so while some think that Microsoft has essentially caved in and started using a reskinned version of Chrome, that’s not true. In fact, Microsoft will now have direct influence over the future of Chromium, helping to reduce Google’s oversized leverage.
Chromium Edge also doesn’t include all of Google’s data-collecting services, too–an important distinction.
While I have used Firefox for a hundred years and will use it for a hundred more, long after I’ve become a floating head in a jar, I am interested in seeing what an actual competitive Microsoft browser looks like. I’ve installed it on my PC and will also install it on my MacBook Pro and mini. I’m going to try sticking with it for a solid week to see how it feels vs. what I’m used to in Firefox.
Realistically, I don’t expect to keep using it, but you never know. I’ve previously used Chrome and yes, Internet Explorer, as my main browsers in the past, so I’m open to change.
Here’s a few things I already like (some of these are common features to most browsers, others are more unique):
- Pinned tabs
- Pinned sites on the taskbar. I find this more useful than I thought.
- Reading mode
- Being able to use Chrome extensions from the Chrome web store (MS’s store is a bit sparse)
- The pretty backgrounds you can opt to get on the new tab page
- The new tab page customization options
- Nice-looking dark mode
- Generally speedy, though these are early days. Er, hours.
UPDATE: The new tab page only lets you have a maximum of seven “top sites.” This is fantastically dumb and basically a deal breaker for me. I then spent most of the evening looking at other new tab extensions, but they all had features missing or other issues, such as:
- Ugly as all get-out
- Kind of skeevy (usually requiring an account)
- Locking basic functionality behind a monthly subscription (lol)
- Lacked customization (icon sizes, etc.)
- Focusing on widgets and other things over presenting a list of sites
I did a search hoping there might be a way to have more than seven top sites on the official new tab page, but my results yielded nothing. I was using Bing, though.