Today, Microsoft is making the first non-beta version of the new Edge browser available on Windows and Mac.
“The new Microsoft Edge provides world-class performance with more privacy, more productivity, and more value while you browse and is twice as fast as legacy Edge,” Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore explains. “Our new browser also comes with our Privacy Promise and we can’t wait for you to try new features like tracking prevention, which is on by default, and provides three levels of control while you browse.”
I assume most readers are familiar with this new Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge. The big question, of course, is how Microsoft intends to roll it out to users. And we finally have a clear picture of that process.
Those running Windows 7, 8.1, or 10, or macOS who want to get the new Microsoft Edge immediately can download it from the Microsoft website.
Or, Windows users who aren’t in any rush can simply wait for it to appear in Windows Update. When it is installed that way on Windows 10 only, your legacy Edge favorites, passwords, form fill information, and basic settings—but not extensions—will “carry over” automatically, Microsoft says. I suspect you’ll need to do some tweaking, regardless, to get it where you want to be.
IT admins can download the Microsoft Edge offline deployment package to pilot the new browser in their organizations, as it will not automatically deploy for commercial customers.
Perhaps most important, anyone currently using a pre-release Edge channel—Canary, Dev, or Beta—will not be upgraded to the release version of Edge. Instead, all of these versions can be used side-by-side, so you’ll want to go grab it manually.
Also, Microsoft promises that it will continue improving Edge this year, which makes sense since it’s shipping without some key features, most notably extension sync. And yes, interested parties can continue to test future Edge functionality using any of the pre-release channels going forward (as is the case with Chromium too).
Finally, the software giant also says that it “remains committed to actively participating in and contributing to the Chromium open source project.” Microsoft has made over 1900 contributions to Chromium—in areas like accessibility, modern input including touch, speech, digital inking, and more—since adopting this platform.