Google Chrome finally has competition. Most of will purely be relieved that our PCs can now breathe a bit easier, considering the resource intensive nature which Chrome had adopted over time. The much-awaited Chromium based Microsoft Edge web browser is now available for download for Windows and Apple macOS computing devices. In a way, this works the same way as a Chrome web browser would, because the foundations are the same. That helps, primarily with website compatibility, availability of extensions if you need those, and a general sense of familiarity which most PC users wouldn’t want to give up. However, what Microsoft has in store for the Chromium based new Edge web browser is a bit more elaborate.
The first rollout phase, which began yesterday, sees the new Edge browser available as an optional download, in the standalone format, from the official Microsoft Edge website. At this time, you can choose to manually download this on any computing device running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 as well as the Apple macOS powered MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, iMac Pro and Mac Mini. On Windows machines already running the previous generation of the Edge browser, downloading and installing the Chromium based Edge will replace the older browser. All the data that you may have stored there, including bookmarks and login details, will be carried forward to the new version. There is also the option to import data from any other web browser you may be using at the time—Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Opera, for instance.
The next stage involves Microsoft pushing the new Edge browser as an update via Windows Update. This is a multi-stage process, which first sees the update being rolled out to a limited number of devices in the Release Preview ring of the Windows Insider Program as a final check, before the larger roll-out to all users. Microsoft suggests that once the new Edge browser is installed on your Windows 10 PC, it will continue to get regular updates adding new features or fixing bugs or performance issues independently and not necessarily via Windows Update.
Microsoft has also made the new Edge browser available to OEMs, who will now painstakingly integrate it with the Windows 10 which they will ship with new PCs in the coming months. Chances are, sometime in the next few weeks, PC makers will ship new devices with the new Edge browser preinstalled.
As for the rollout of the Edge browser via Windows Update, Microsoft confirms that PCs running the Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 for Education and Windows 10 on Workstations will not get this automatic update. The idea is to give the organization’s IT administrators full control over whether they want to, and if as well as when, they want to install the new Edge browser on the systems in use in their organization.