Published on March 29th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan


How Microsoft Edge is using Google’s Open source Chromium project

In December of last year, Microsoft, in an event made an announcement that they are going to make significant improvements to the Microsoft Edge browser. They announced that they are going to completely remake the browser so that they run on the Chromium platform. It is an open source platform for rendering websites and it also is what powers the famous Google Chrome web browser.

This announcement means that we are soon going to see Microsoft edge being run on top of javascript engines like Blink as well as the Chrome V8 Javascript engine. This news is a big one as it means that Microsoft is going to join and contribute to the open source community just like Google and other software giants.

The Announcement

The corporate vice president of Windows, Joe Belfiore explained that with this move, Microsoft aims at making the internet experience more unified and smooth for all kinds of audiences.

He further said that with the new Microsoft edge, the users will be able to successfully run many websites which were not compatible by Microsoft Edge before and with that, they will experience the best possible battery life as well as good hardware-software integration which is not provided by any other web browser in the market yet.

All this ultimately means that there will be no change in the branding of Microsoft Edge and it will not be upgraded with a new browser like Microsoft Edge did with Internet Explorer, rather, it means that you will be able to run a lot more websites using Microsoft Edge than before and will be able to run websites faster and using far less battery life on portable devices like laptops and tablets running the updated Microsoft Edge.

Why is Microsoft Moving Over to Chromium

After this announcement, people thought that why Microsoft is going to change its rendering engines and why are they making these changes now. Microsoft is making all of these changes just because recently, Microsoft Edge has fallen way back behind Google’s Chrome browser if we talk about market shares of the respective browsers. Due to this reason, web developers have begun to focus on optimizing their website for the Chrome browser.

Along with that, Microsoft Edge has a very small community base when compared to Google Chrome. One can compare the size of Google Chrome store with Edge’s store. You can easily find tones of themes for Google Chrome while very few for Microsoft Edge. By using the Chromium platform, Edge browser will support Chrome themes as well. That means, Microsoft doesn’t need to invest much in maintaining a theme store and promoting it.

Running Google’s Chrome-only Web Services

Along with that, Google has also started rolling out web services that are compatible only on the Chromium Engine. This is why Microsoft is moving Edge over to the Bright and V8 Javascript engines that are used for Chrome.

They are also making this change now as they are under a lot of pressure to improve web browsing capabilities on their operating systems both from the consumers as well as the enterprises who have Microsoft Windows operating systems installed and cannot use third party web browsers for security reasons on their corporate network. Microsoft had improved the Edge browser quite much in the last years but even some little compatibility issues with certain important websites can cause lots of problems. This is why moving over to a well developed engine like Chromium may be a good move for Microsoft. With this, Microsoft Edge can be at par with browsers like Google Chrome and other web browsers in the market which run on the Blink Javascript Engine.

Bringing Downward Compatibility to Microsoft Edge

Web compatibility is not all of the reasons why Microsoft is moving away from the Edge rendering engine. Many businesses that currently run older versions of Windows like Windows 7 and Windows 8 and also businesses that operate on mixed environments want Microsoft to make the Microsoft Edge browser available to these platforms. This is why they are working to bring Microsoft Edge to older operating systems like Windows 8 as well as Windows 7 and not make Microsoft Edge exclusive to Windows 10. Microsoft Edge will soon be available as an exe download to install it on older versions of Windows like Windows 8 as well as Windows 7.

Making Microsoft Edge as a downloadable browser will make it easier for Microsoft to release newer updates for Microsoft Edge to all of the operating systems running Microsoft Edge simultaneously. We can now update Microsoft Edge just like Google chrome or any other third party web browser and would not have to do a complete Windows Update whenever we want to get up to date with the latest version of Microsoft Edge. This also means that we can look forward to getting new updated versions of Microsoft Edge every few weeks.

Making It Easier for Web Developers to Test Websites in Microsoft Edge

Another reason why Microsoft is looking to change the rendering engine on Microsoft Edge is because they want to make it easier for web developers to develop websites that run smoothly in Microsoft Edge. Currently, a majority of web developers use Mac based systems to develop and test websites but since Microsoft Edge doesn’t run on Mac based systems, they have to dual boot into Windows to just test their websites. Now, developers will be able to test their websites on their Mac systems without dual booting into Windows. This will definitely improve the market share of Microsoft Edge.

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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