Microsoft Edge based on Chromium is finally out of preview and is available for download on all supported versions of Windows and macOS. The new development comes a little over a year after the Redmond company announced its plans to part ways from the existing EdgeHTML browser engine and switch to the Chromium engine. Microsoft has provided a dedicated webpage to let eligible Windows and macOS users download the latest Edge version, which is the Edge 79 stable. In the coming weeks, Windows 10 users will also start be migrating to the new Microsoft Edge.
The initial rollout of the latest Microsoft Edge will be limited to a “subset of Windows Insiders” in the Windows Release Preview ring. This would help Microsoft beta test the rollout approach for the masses.
However, users who can't wait to experience Chromium-based Microsoft Edge on their Windows devices and for the ones who own a Mac machine, the webpage is available to let them directly download the fresh experience.
“When you install Microsoft Edge on an up-to-date Windows 10 device, it will replace the previous (legacy) version on your device. In some cases, you may be prompted to install additional updates. Your favourites, passwords, and basic settings will carry over to the new Microsoft Edge automatically. Web apps (including those built on EdgeHTML), and Microsoft Edge preview channels (such as Dev or Canary) will continue to work without interruption,” the company wrote in a blog post.
As spotted last month, Microsoft is planning to make the new Edge version gradually available through Automatic Updates for Windows 10 1709 (Redstone 4 aka RS4) and newer builds. Microsoft Edge users on Android and iOS will also receive the update automatically in the coming days.
The new Microsoft Edge based on Chromium will receive updates based on a “roughly six-week” cadence. The company has also revealed that Edge users will continue to receive next major updates through the Beta channel. Moreover, Microsoft Edge 80 is set to enter the Beta channel soon and is expected to be released as a stable update in February.
Microsoft has highlighted the Chromium project has received over 1,900 contributions across areas such as accessibility and modern input including touch, speech, and digital inking. All these contributions would enhance the Web browsing experience on not just the new Edge browser but also on other browsers using the same engine, including Google Chrome.
The latest Microsoft Edge version comes with new privacy-focussed features such as tracking prevention, which is enabled by default to limit tracking through ads and cookies. There is also a new tab page layout that lets users choose which types of news they want to be seen on their new tab screen. Further, Microsoft has provided AAD support, Internet Explorer mode, 4K Web streaming, Dolby audio, inking in PDF, support for Chrome-based extensions, and Microsoft Search in Bing integration among various others.
“Of course, the innovation, testing, and new features don't stop coming today, and this initial release is only just the beginning,” said Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Windows, in a separate blog post.
To recall, Microsoft initially showed its interest in building a Chromium-based Edge browser back in December 2018. The company last year tested its initial development with Windows 10 users through Canary and Dev channels and released a similar Edge version for macOS to beta test the fresh experience on Apple devices. Users on previous Windows versions, including the ones on Windows 7 and Windows 8 were also able to receive the new Edge release through the Canary channel.