Microsoft is ending development of the systems underpinning proprietary internet browser Edge, and will create a new one using Chromium, the technology that powers the Google Chrome browser.
Microsoft’s new browser, currently designated ‘Anaheim’, will utilize Google’s rendering engine as the basis for Edge’s replacement instead of further developing its EdgeHTML engine, according to reporting by Windows Central, citing anonymous sources.
This update will cause changes to the PC and Windows phone versions of Edge only. The iOS and Android versions already run on platform-specific engines, and users of these apps will therefore not see any difference resulting from this news.
How the browser will look is uncertain. It could retain Edge’s name, user interface and all of its features, just wired into a new underlying system, or be something completely fresh with a new moniker.
Edge, or ‘Spartan’ as it was named during development, was introduced in 2015 to users of Windows 10 back when the operating system was announced, and was judged to be a successful modernizing step away from Internet Explorer 11. However, despite handy features like Cortana integration and an article reading mode, it has not seen wide usage.
Public opinion of the browser was tainted by security issues discovered in February last year, as well as the technical limitations caused by sites optimized only for Chrome users. The Edge browser also doesn't benefit from the wide array of extensions available for Chrome. According to Netmarketshaare, the Edge browser has only 4.3 percent overall share in the browser market.
The switch to Chromium would fix the above issues with ease, and could tempt Windows users to stay within Microsoft’s walled garden of applications rather than solely using Edge as a means to download a competitor’s browser.