Microsoft has been hard at work since announcing the death of the old Edge browser. The new Chromium-based Edge has been in developer testing for several months, but the first public beta is available today. Just head over to Microsoft’s Edge landing page to download the new browser. While Microsoft stresses this is still a beta, it believes Chromium Edge is ready for everyday use.
Since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft has pushed the Edge browser as a more efficient alternative to the market-leading Chrome or runner-up Firefox. Microsoft wrote blog posts, made videos, and even leveraged popups in Windows to get people using Edge. In the end, Microsoft decided it wasn’t worth continuing development on its custom EdgeHTML engine. It announced late last year that it would rebuild Edge on top of Google’s open-source Chromium code.
Microsoft launched the first builds of Chromium Edge in April, but those were the unstable canary and dev channels. Still, they were downloaded more than a million times, and Microsoft got over 140,000 pieces of feedback. Canary got updates every day, and the dev channel would get them weekly. The new beta release is the first one suitable for regular people. It gets major updates every six weeks, giving Microsoft time to ensure there are no show-stopping bugs rolling out to testers.
Chromium Edge has all the features you’d expect from a browser in the beta channel. You can link your Microsoft account, install extensions, save passwords, and more. It looks more like Chrome than it does like the old Edge, but the theme fits better with Windows. The developers are so confident the beta is ready for use, Microsoft has made it part of its bug bounty program. Developers and researchers are free to probe the new browser for vulnerabilities and report them to Microsoft. A sufficiently severe flaw could net the discoverer up to $15,000.
Right now, users still have to go looking for the updated Edge browser because it’s still technically a preview product. Eventually, Microsoft will add a stable channel to bundle with Windows. We don’t know when that will happen, though. Microsoft promised major feature additions like IE Mode and a unified privacy page at the Build conference in May. However, there’s no sign of those in the first beta release. Microsoft will probably want to run those through the beta channel before migrating everyone to the new browser via Windows updates. We’d bet on early 2020 availability for the stable channel.