Microsoft has been trying to win the browser wars since they began back in the mid-1990s. Their newest attempt, Microsoft Edge Chromium, has the potential to get them closer to that goal. Of course, they had to use the same foundational coding as Google Chrome to do this.
Chrome and the new Edge are both built from the open-source Chromium project, and that makes them very similar on the surface. There are some differences between the two browsers, that make them unique in some ways or superior in others.
Here are some of the functions you often find in browsers and how Chrome and Edge utilize those options.
The user interface on the new Edge is very similar to what you would expect when using Chrome. They both have rounded corners and drop shadow effects.
When it comes to the bookmarks bar, both Chrome and Edge show the bar only on new tabs.
Edge gives you three choices for your new tab options. The Focused theme shows your most frequently visited sites, Inspirational shows a different image each day, and Informational gives you a customized news feed. Chrome only has an option for a focused theme.
Both Edge and Chrome have access to extensions that provide more functionality. Because they are both built on Chromium, most of the extensions in the Google Chrome Store work on Edge too. To use them, you need to click on the three dots and select Extensions. Then move the slider next to “Allow extensions from other stores” to On.
There are extensions specifically designed to work with Edge in the Microsoft Store, but it seems like an extra step to go out of the browser to download these when you can do it all in one place with Google’s extensions.
While Google Chrome allows you to sync your browser history and extensions between devices, Microsoft Edge does not. So if it’s important to you that your browsers work the same on different devices, Chrome is still a better bet.
Something that puts Edge ahead of Chrome for many of us will be Collections.
Collections allow the user to gather information from many different sources and put them in one place to refer to again. This is handy for tasks such as planning trips, comparison shopping, or writing research papers. As of this writing, Collections is not live on the current version, but you can use it by downloading the Canary version.
In many tests, Edge seems to be faster, using only 70-80% of the RAM Chrome uses. If you don’t have a large amount of RAM, this will give you faster and smoother browsing. Edge is less taxing on your CPU too, making freeze-ups less common.
You can turn almost any webpage into a standalone app using Microsoft Edge’s Progressive Web App (PWA) support. Creating a PWA gives you a desktop shortcut that leads to the site, but without the address bar and other functions you would see in a browser. This is something that Chrome does not have.
The new Microsoft Edge reads to you both on desktop and mobile. Chrome requires an extension on the desktop and mobile versions to do this. You can even download more languages and voices in your Windows Settings.
Edge has an Immersive Reading view that removes all the extra distractions from the page, leaving only the text and other relevant content. You can even adjust the color of the background. Chrome once had a reader mode, but now you need to install an extension for both the read aloud and the reader view.
Edge gives you three different levels of tracking protection. You can choose Basic, Balanced, and Strict. The default is Balanced, which lets you get some customization that you won’t get in Strict mode. You’ll get a lot of customization in Basic, but you will have less privacy. In Strict mode, some websites may not work correctly.
You can find out which trackers have been blocked on the websites you visit on Edge. Click on the lock icon to the left of the URL. Then click Trackers at the bottom of the menu, and you will see the list. Chrome doesn’t do this.
In Microsoft Edge, you can customize which permissions you want to give on a site-by-site basis. In Chrome, you can only either allow or block for all sites or none.
Like every other browser, both Edge and Chrome have private browsing tabs. On the Edge browser, you will see it listed as InPrivate, while Chrome refers to it as an Incognito tab. These browser windows do not save any activity when used to browse the Internet.
Overall, Edge seems to have the advantage over Chrome in that it takes fewer resources to run. Even if you’ve sworn off Microsoft browsers in the past, it may be worth a look.