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Edge: Before and After | SignalWire

Edge: Before and After

It’s been about a month since Microsoft announced that big changes were happing with their 3 year old browser: Edge.

The company is rebuilding Edge from the ground up, abandoning their EdgeHTML rendering engine and running on open-sourced Chromium instead (the same engine that powers Google Chrome). That’s right, Edge will soon be powered by Blink and V8 JavaScript engines. More importantly, Microsoft is officially joining the open-source community in a much bigger way!

Corporate VP of Windows, Joe Belfiore, says the change is inspired by making web experience better, but we also suspect it has something to do with their significant loss of market share. While this internal makeover will increase compatibility with websites and battery life on Windows devices, users of Edge will remain at their all time low. In December, Edge accounted for only 10.4% of the total browser user share on Windows 10. Internet Explorer and Edge combined are down 1.5 percentage points, meanwhile, Microsoft hasn’t even touched IE since 2016.

While the mechanics of the browser are being completely redone, the brand name of Edge is here to stay. In fact, the small percentage of people who use the browser will barely even notice any changes, save for an enhanced performance.

So why the change?

Users aren’t the only ones casting Edge aside; many web developers are keen to optimize for Google Chrome. Google has started creating Chrome only web services, and because they are a leader in the industry many are following suit. Modern users expect perfection so even the smallest of hiccups become giant inconveniences when it comes to compatibility. While Edge had been trying their best to keep up with Chrome, they never quite measured up.

Microsoft has been planning this jump for about a year, and it may be another before we see the change. The new browser will be on all versions of Windows and the updates will not be tied to major Windows 10 updates like they have been in the past. This new and improved Edge will also be available on Mac for the first time. Of course it comes down to a personal preference, but many web developers do use Mac computers and in the past, it was inconvenient to test on Edge because it was only available on Windows devices. Down the line, Microsoft hopes that this change will increase the attention of web developers as well as users.

The company is investing a lot of time and money into enhancements that will ultimately improve Edge, as well as the existing Chrome, on Windows. Microsoft aims to work closely with Apple and Google (and anyone else who commits changes to Chromium) in order to make the web better for everyone. As members of an amazing open-source community, it’s great to see engineers from different companies collaborating to make technology better.

“If you’re part of the open-source community developing browsers, we invite you to collaborate with us as we build the future of Microsoft Edge and contribute to the Chromium project.” -Joe Belfiore.