Microsoft’s Kyle Alden Addresses Concerns Around Overhauled Browser

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Microsoft’s new Chromium-based browser will support existing Chrome extensions, Edge project manager Kyle Alden has said.

This comes days after the technology company announced its intention to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for consumers, as well as providing less fragmentation of the web for developers.

Chromium is the same web rendering engine which powers Google’s Chrome browser and will replace Microsoft’s EdgeHTML rendering engine which is currently used within the Edge browser. One of the biggest drawbacks of the current version of Edge is its significant lack of extensions, with the browser only supporting some essential add-ons through the Microsoft Store.

Even as the company looks to make the new release, Chrome users on social media came out to criticise the move saying the version lacks incentives for the consumer and even reason to use it as the primary browser. Also, the other issue largely addressed was that edge is tied to OS upgrades and even with promises that putting the Edge Chrome in the store so it can be updated independently of the OS is not enough.

Edge project manager Kyle Alden went to reddit to address these concerns saying that Existing UWP apps (including PWAs in the Store) will continue to use EdgeHTML/Chakra without interruption. Microsoft does not plan to shim under those with a different engine, instead, offer a new WebView that apps can choose to use based on the new rendering engine.

“We expect to provide support for PWAs to be installed directly from the browser (much like with Chrome) in addition to the current Store approach. We’re not ready to go into all the details yet but PWAs behaving like native apps is still an important principle for us so we’ll be looking into the right system integrations to get that right.”

“People using Microsoft Edge (and potentially other browsers) will experience improved compatibility with all websites while getting the best possible battery life and hardware integration on all kinds of Windows devices.”

The overhauled version of Microsoft Edge will launch as a standalone executable across Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. The first version of the new Chromium-based Edge browser is expected to be released in early 2019.

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Melissa Daniels
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