In our continuing effort to catch up on tech happening around us, today it is time to talk about Microsoft’s Edge with Chromium previews and their current status.
For some historical perspective, Microsoft began the public Edge (Chromium) preview program this past April. That initial release was just for the Edge Canary channel. It was followed by the Edge Developer preview and subsequently the Edge Beta preview channels.
In late August, Microsoft revealed that preview versions of Edge (Chromium) had been downloaded from the Edge Insiders website more than one million times. In addition, they reported over 140,000 pieces of feedback had been received from users of the new browser.
Initially, Edge (Chromium) builds were pretty basic and lacked many of the features that were part of the Edge (Spartan) browser released for Windows 10. However, that has changed a lot over the last six months.
Before I highlight some of the big features and enhancements that are now part of Edge (Chromium), here is a snapshot of the latest builds for each preview channel as of this posting:
- Edge Canary – Build 79.0.313.0
- Edge Developer – Build 79.0.308.1
- Edge Beta – Build 78.0.276.20
Note: Each preview channel has their own release cadence:
- 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.
We still expect Edge Stable to be available later this year or in early 2020 however, I am using all three Edge (Chromium) preview channels and they really are stable at this point. No reason to not jump in and start trying it out. In fact, Edge (Chromium) has replaced all other browsers on my devices.
Here are some of the features and enhancements that have made their way into the Edge (Chromium) preview channels:
- Privacy Dashboard
- Internet Explorer Mode
- Annotate PDF Files
- Sync Open Tabs
- Enterprise New Tab Page for Office 365 Users
- Family Safety Features
- Tracking Prevention
- Media Autoplay Controls
- Sync Passwords, Addresses, Favorites, Settings
- Windows 10 Share Integration
- Sign-in and Sync with School/Work Accounts
- Read Aloud
- Dark Mode for Settings
- Show Icon Only in Favorites Bar
- Group Policies
- Reading View
- Built-in Translator for Webpages
- Media Casting
In addition to all of the above, there are of course numerous under the hood improvements and tweaks that make Edge (Chromium) a very fast browser to use daily.
You can download your choice of any of the three preview channels at the Edge Insider website. Edge (Chromium) is available for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, and macOS right now. There have been rumors of a Linux release but nothing official yet.
Let us know if Edge (Chromium) has become your new default browser in the comments below.