Microsoft Edge Built With Google Chromium Engine Spied In This First Look

Microsoft is rebuilding its Edge browser around the same rendering and JavaScript engines that drive Google's Chrome browser, a move that could see a public release by the end of the year. In the meantime, development has already begun. As such, the inevitable leaks have started rolling in, giving us an early glimpse of Edge in its reborn form.

Edge Browser
Click to Enlarge (Source: Neowin)

As currently constructed, Edge is powered by EdgeHTML (rendering) and Chakra (JavaScript). However, Microsoft made the surprise announcement in December that it was gutting Edge and moving to Chromium, the same open source platform that powers Chrome, which will see Blink and V8 replace EdgeHTML and Chakra, respectively.

The folks at Neowin got their hands on a few screenshots that show the redesigned Edge browser in its current form. It's obviously a work in progress, and according to the site, Microsoft is maintaining two channels—a Dev channel that is updated updated weekly, and a Canary channel that sees daily updates.

It's not clear how far into development the leaked screenshots represent. What we see is not a drastically different looking browser, though there are some notable changes. One is that Microsoft removed the options to see all of the tabs and to set aside the currently open tabs. The new Edge also gives users four layout options, including Focused, Inspirational, Informational, and Custom.

One thing that is no big surprise is seeing Bing integrated into the browser. Scrolling also reveals a news feed similar to how it's implemented now.

Edge Add-Ons
Click to Enlarge (Source: Neowin)

What about extensions? Those are a big part of Chrome, and Microsoft will use them as well, albeit primarily in its own extension store for Edge. While it's early, there are already numerous extensions that have been recompiled from the Chrome Web Store and ported to Microsoft's storefront. In the final build, users will install extensions through the Microsoft Store.

That will not be the only way to grab extensions, though. Microsoft has wisely chose to support Chrome extensions as currently constructed in the Chrome Web Store, though it looks like there will be a setting to enable this.

It's too early to tell how things are really coming long, as there is only so much to be gleaned from screenshots. That said, it wouldn't surprise us if first-hand accounts start to trickle out. Microsoft began accepting applications into it Edge Insider program in December, and in fact you can still apply by following this link.