Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser preview to be available as separate download

Are you among those interested in testing out Microsoft’s latest rendition of the Edge web browser? If so, you might be happy to learn that the company won’t require you to be a member of the Windows Insider program — an initiative that allows Microsoft fans and developers to live on the bleeding edge via access to early releases of Windows 10 builds.

Kyle Alden, Edge project manager, confirmed on Reddit that those interested in trying out the future of the company’s web-browsing experience will be able to do so via a separate download. It’s welcome news for those concerned they would need to run less stable builds of Windows to experience the latest iteration of Edge early.

Microsoft announced its plans to replace Edge’s in-house EdgeHTML with Google’s Blink engine, which will make the browser Chromium-based, in December of last year. As Google Chrome has continued to dominate worldwide browser market share, developers have focused their effort on ensuring that Google’s Blink engine is well supported. This leaves non-Chromium browsers with less than ideal, sub-optimized experiences that may even cause web pages to not function correctly.

While the decision for Edge to switch to Google’s Blink engine has been praised by some who believe that Microsoft’s web browser may have a fighting chance against Chrome, Mozilla has criticized the move. While Mozilla agrees that Microsoft’s move makes smart business sense, it also notes that the change will give “Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available.” There is some concern that Google will have a monopoly over the World Wide Web.

For those looking forward to the change, placing the Blink engine behind Microsoft Edge means that there should be higher levels of compatibility with the modern web. Alden also mentioned a few months ago that the Edge team was focused on bringing Chrome Web Extension capability to the new browser, meaning those who switch won’t need to be concerned about leaving their favorite add-ons behind.

Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge web-browser is expected to launch in the first half of 2019, although Alden noted that Microsoft “can’t commit to a specific timing just yet.”

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