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Microsoft rebuilds its Edge browser on Chromium. Nice move

Microsoft rebuilds its Edge browser on Chromium. Nice move
[Video: courtesy of Microsoft]

Microsoft has rebuilt its Edge web browser on the Chromium framework–the same open-source framework used in Google’s Chrome browser–and now the company is adding some user-friendly features made possible by the switch.

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One of the biggest payoffs of using Chromium is enabling a safer, more private, and less annoying browser experience. Edge will get three new privacy settings–unrestricted, balanced, and strict.

These settings provide different levels of defense against the ad-tech javascript that wants to track users around the web. “Unrestricted” allows all third-party trackers to work on the browser. “Balanced” prevents third-party trackers from sites the user has not visited before. And “Strict” blocks all third-party trackers.

A new feature called Collections will let users easily gather and share content they find on the web with other users. Microsoft says the feature helps deal with “the information overload customers feel with the web today.” There’s also an integration with the Microsoft Office suite of productivity apps, Microsoft said. For example the Collections feature can look at a set of competing cameras in the browser, then go off and compile a comparison chart containing the products, prices, and specs, in an Excel spreadsheet.

Many Windows 10 users skip over Edge and use Google’s Chrome. Edge uses a different rendering engine than what many web developers develop for, which means those used in Chrome and Apple’s Safari. So Edge was choking on some websites that work fine on those other browsers.

By most estimates, Chrome now controls between 60% and 70% of the desktop browser market, while Edge gets less than 5%. Microsoft would obviously like that to change. Adopting a modern browser framework may be a good first step.

The company made the announcement at its Build developer conference, which is going on this week in Seattle.

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