Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser took another big step today with the launch of a beta version.
Chromium Edge beta: How to download
Available to download on all versions of Windows and macOS, the Microsoft Edge beta is the final preview before Microsoft releases its new browser to the general public. Microsoft has not yet set a release date for Chromium Edge, so this beta is as close as you'll get to the final release.
If you'd like to try the beta out yourself, just visit Microsoft's Chromium Edge Insider Channels page, click the drop-down arrow under the "Beta Channel" to chose the appropriate operating system and select "download." Following the Canary and Dev channels, this new Beta is the most stable version of Chromium-based Edge and, as such, it will only receive major updates every six weeks.
Debuting in the beta are new ways to personalize Edge along with support for 14 languages. Dark theme, a tracking prevention tool, and tab customization, which lets you choose between Focused, Inspirational or Informational layouts for newly opened tabs, are a few of the new features available in the beta. Diehard Edge users will also be thrilled to hear that the beta channel allows access to tons of extensions, including those in the Chrome Web Store.
For business users, the Edge beta comes with Microsoft Search built into Bing and a Windows Defender Application Guards will block untrusted sites. The most touted enterprise feature --- the integration of Internet Explorer 11 directly into Microsoft Edge ---will also be available for the 60% of organizations that use multiple browsers.
Microsoft is launching a security bounty program alongside the beta release. Security researchers are encouraged to find and disclose vulnerabilities in the browser for up to a $15,000 reward.
Chromium Edge, a new era
Microsoft shocked everyone when it announced that the next version of its Edge browser would run on Google's Chromium, the open-source engine behind Chrome. By switching to Chrome, Edge will avoid any compatibility issues with an internet that is increasingly built for Chrome. Edge will also adopt features familiar to Chrome users, including a large catalog of extensions. For its part, Microsoft has contributed more than 1,000 commits to improve Chromium.
The release of a beta channel is a significant milestone for the new Edge as Microsoft has now declared the browser "ready for everyday use."
According to Microsoft, there have been more than 1 million downloads of the Edge preview builds and more than 140,000 pieces of feedback have helped improve the browser. Those figures bode well for Edge, which has lived in the shadow of Google's Chrome browser for the last decade. Microsoft is now looking for enterprise customers to give the beta a try.