Microsoft raised quite a few eyebrows when it announced that it would no longer develop the Edge browsing using the homegrown EdgeHTML engine, and would instead adopt Google's Chromium. Browser competitor Mozilla was quick to bash the move, saying that Microsoft was caving into Google and making it easier for the search giant to further control the web.
Undeterred, Microsoft has continued to develop the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser, releasing Dev and Canary builds for Windows and macOS. Now, the company is ready to take the next step with the release of the Beta channel to the public. According to Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, the preview builds of Microsoft Edge were download over one million times, and the company has received 140,000 pieces of feedback on the new browser.
The beta represents the final step that Microsoft will take in its preview channel for the new Edge browser. Next will come the final, public release which will be broadly available to Windows and macOS users. And unlike the old EdgeHTML engine -- which was only updated twice per year along with major Windows 10 releases -- Microsoft is committed to deliver new major feature updates on a six-week schedule, with minor updates and bug fixes sprinkled in-between.
The beta version of Microsoft Edge includes a number of notable features like the Windows Defender Application Guard, which will help protect the browser (and hence the user) from nefarious websites and phishing attacks. Likewise, there is an integrated Internet Explorer mode, which features IE11 compatibility for those that still need to use that crusty old browser.
Microsoft is taking its involvement in the Chromium project very seriously, and has already made some significant contributions. The company brags that it has made over 1,000 commits to Chromium, and most recently, it has discovered a way to help reduce the vociferous battery draining tendencies of Chrome.
If you'd like to try out the Microsoft Edge Beta for Windows or macOS, you can download it via the following link.