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Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, what is it, and is it worth it?

Microsoft is working on releasing a new browser to the masses, a few years after Edge was released with windows 10 and has failed to light up the dying internet browser. 

The new version is based on Google’s Chromium system and runs the same backend as Chrome but I don’t think this is enough to relight the love for a Microsoft based browser. Unless the system comes with something unique or groundbreaking. 

Too little too late

Edge never took off, I think this is mainly a failing of its branding. It was tied too close to its predecessor, IE, and immediately came with all the negativity that its former browser already had.  Using the same colour and style of e really wasn’t a smart move.

Changing this now, even as dramatic as it is, isn’t going to change the perceptions of Edge even if it is completely rebuilt from the ground up. Once we have an ingrained perception of a brand it becomes incredibly hard for someone to reshape or change that. 

I certainly think it’s worth a try though. Basing the whole thing off Chromium is a brilliant move though, it does mean that people who currently use the Google Chrome browser may just be persuaded to not change over immediately and give the new browser a go.

Microsoft's new browser is based on Google's Chromium system.

A saving grace is its engine

Internet Explorer annoyed everyone for one main reason: the engine. Because web browsers run different engines, it means elements don’t work the same on every single one. Firefox and Chrome have always roughly had two that run similar, Gecko and Chromium. 

IE swore by Web Kit for so many years, this was a massive problem though because nothing actually worked. It was so different to every other browser engine that whatever you did in Firefox and Chrome was completely different when it reached IE. 

This annoyed developers and web designers alike because it added more development time, especially through previous versions of IE. The new Chromium-based Edge browser will completely cut this requirement out and hopefully make friends with developers. 

Security is also an interesting point

With Microsoft joining the Chromium back-end development, making their amends to the main browser, means that there could potentially be new security flaws that they’ll either make or expose which is a potential open door to hackers and malicious software. This is especially worrying with the not-so-tech-savvy that may use the browser.

However, on the flip side, more developers do mean that the potential answers to any of these issues will come quicker. This could either make the Edge and, as a consequence, Google Chrome even more secure. 

What should Microsoft have done with Edge?

Since the web become a wide open space, where anyone can develop new tools to browse it, meant that companies and products had to be innovative and quick moving. As a large company Microsoft struggled to do that. This, I believe, is one of the main reasons why IE got stuck where it did and Edge was the product that came out of it – a product already running technology they owned. Big companies always end up trying to shove their current products into new problems, Google were smart enough to see this so created Alphabet which gave its subsidiaries more room to be small and innovative to keep up with the market.

Microsoft should have seen what the new competitors in the market were doing and made Edge better, quicker. Rather than making something old locked down in their biggest asset – Windows. This led to the beginning of the downfall for the browser, forcing something on someone and only changing when you are told too by a government just paints a bad picture. 

There is another option that Microsoft had though, but I doubt they would have taken this. Ditch their browser and work with one of the smaller ones. I don’t think that any of the other browsers matched the ideals and vision of Microsoft for Edge though and if you can make a world-leading browser, then why not give it a shot? 

Overall, I think the new browser – jumping to Chromium – is a great idea but it’s a little too late for anyone to actually fall in love with the browser. Change should have happened earlier and now I think Microsoft should just support a popular current browser out of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome so more people are willing to support its other products like Windows and Office.