This week Microsoft shared that the new Edge with Chromium browser, which has been in preview since April of this year, has been downloaded more than one million times. In addition, the company has received over 140,000 pieces of feedback from users.
These numbers have been made public as Microsoft continues moving the work on the new version of Microsoft Edge based on Chromium forward with the recent availability of the Beta Preview Channel for end users/testers. This is the third preview channel and joins the Canary and Developer Preview Channels for testing the new browser on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and, macOS.
As I noted back in April when the Edge Insider program began, each preview channel will see updates to the browser on varying schedules. Here is a reminder of those expected time frames for each channel:
- Edge Canary channel is updated daily except for the weekends and provides the earliest access to new features and enhancements during the development process.
- Edge Developer channel is updated weekly and provides access to new features so developers can test their sites, apps, etc.
- Edge Beta channel, is will be the most stable preview build. Releases in this channel are expected every six weeks. Minor updates will be released to this channel as necessary to address bugs and security issues.
Note: Although not officially announced yet, the final channel for Microsoft Edge based on Chromium is expected later this year or in early 2020. This channel will be the Stable Channel and the official release version of Microsoft Edge with Chromium.
New updates to the browser will be added in the various preview channels in a progressive manner for testing and stability as they progress from Canary to Developer and then into Beta.
This week’s availability of the Beta Preview Channel for Microsoft Edge with Chromium is a significant step because it represents the most stable preview channel. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore states that this new Beta Preview Channel is ready for everyday use although many users I have talked to on social media switched to using Edge with Chromium as their primary browser shortly after the first two preview channels became available back in April. I can attest in my own usage experience that those first two preview channels have been very stable. On my latest rebuild of my main desktop, I only installed the Edge Chromium preview builds – no Chrome – no Firefox.
Although they are not feature complete, the progress over the last four months of development has been solid with more enhancements arriving every week.
In fact, with the release of the Beta Preview Channel, the Microsoft Edge Team introduced a key new feature in the Canary Preview Channel that they initially showed off back at BUILD 2019 earlier this year – Collections. It is activated by enabling the edge://flags#edge-collections flag in the latest Canary build of Edge with Chromium.
I have included screenshots below to show you how the Collections feature works. This is an early preview so it might be buggy and not all aspects of the feature work yet. For instance, Collections do not sync between browsers/devices right now but you can curate these lists and export them to Excel on Windows 10 and macOS. Additional capabilities will be added over time for continued testing. Once these features stabilize, you can expect to see them become available on the other preview channels.
One additional capability has been turned on this week that will make enterprise users very happy as they can now sign-in and sync using work and school accounts in Azure Active Directory.
You can keep up with all the progress and new updates by joining the Edge Insider Program yourself to try out the new builds on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and macOS. Preview builds of Microsoft Edge with Chromium can be installed alongside other browsers without any issue/impact on what you are using right now including Chrome, Firefox, or Edge (OG).
Microsoft Edge with Chromium Collections Screenshots