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Microsoft Edge or Chrome in Disguise?

Arpatech Mar 30, 2020
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Statcounter research states that, ‘As of December 2019, Chrome had 69% of the world’s web browser market, compared to 4.6 for Edge and 3.6% for Internet Explorer.’

Microsoft has released an updated ‘Edge’ browser, released on January 15, which is actually the tech giant’s third attempt at building a browser that offers a better browsing experience while opting the strategy, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’

The first attempt, Internet Explorer, was launched in 1995 and ultimately became the most successful browser in the world. The company’s second browser, Edge, launched in July 2015, was Microsoft’s attempt to replace Internet Explorer and regain browser supremacy. That version of Edge did not work. It was only available for Windows 10, was unreliable, overloaded with functionality that few users desired, and severely lacked items which users actually wanted.

The third and the most recent attempt is, ‘Microsoft New Edge’ in which, instead of creating the proprietary code browser, Microsoft opted to use open-source Chromium source code to build the new Edge, which was originally developed by Google and is now underpinning Google Chrome and other browsers. Seasoned Chrome users will quickly feel comfortable with it — and it also allows extensions to be installed straight from Chrome’s own web store. Unlike the initial Edge browser, the Chromium-based Edge works with Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and macOS.

We have handpicked the minute differences between the two, to help you understand them better.

User Interface

In the new Edge, the user interface is quite similar to what you’d expect while using Chrome. They both have rounded corners and the effects of shadow falling. As for the bookmarks bar, both Chrome and Edge just display the bars on new tabs.

Edge offers three options for you to choose from for your new tab. The Centered theme displays your most often visited pages, Inspirational presents a different picture daily, and Informational presents you with a personalized news feed. Chrome has only one focused theme option.

Speed

Edge appears to be faster in several tests, by just using 70-80% of the RAM which Chrome makes use of. So, in case your system doesn’t have a huge amount of RAM, Edge can offer you smoother and faster browsing. Edge also taxes less on the computer, making freeze-ups less regular.

Extensions

Both Edge and Chrome provide access to more-functional extensions. Since both are designed on Chromium, most of the Google Chrome Store extensions function on Edge too. You must click on the three dots to use them, and choose Extensions. Then move the slider to On, next to “allow extensions from other stores.”

In the Microsoft Store, there are plugins specifically designed to work with Edge, but going out of the browser seems like an unnecessary step to add this, while you can do it all in one place with Google’s extensions.

Syncing

While Google Chrome lets you sync your browser history and extensions between device-to-device, Microsoft Edge doesn’t. And if you think it’s important that your browsers work the same on various devices, Chrome’s a better choice.

Apps

Using Microsoft Edge’s Progressive Web App (PWA) support, you can convert almost any website into a standalone app. Creating a PWA provides you a desktop shortcut that connects to the site which you can see in a browser without the address bar and other features. This feature is not available on Chrome.

Collections

Collections is something which sets Edge ahead of Chrome for many of us. Collections allow the user to accumulate information from a number of sources and to bring it in one place to refer to again. It is useful in situations like planning trips, writing research papers, or comparison shopping. Collections are not live on the new version at the time of this writing, but you can use it by installing the Canary version.

Immersive Reading

One amazing feature of Microsoft Edge is that it reads to you on your mobile as well as your desktop screens. The new Microsoft Edge reads on both your desktop and your mobile phone. To do so, Chrome needs an extension to the desktop and mobile versions. More languages and voices can also be downloaded in your Windows Settings.

Edge has an immersive reading experience which eliminates all unnecessary distractions from the page, leaving only the text and other relevant content. You can also adjust background color. Chrome once had a reader feature, but now you have to install a plugin in order to enjoy both read aloud and reader view.

Privacy

Edge provides you three different degrees of tracking security: Basic, Balanced and Strict. Balanced is the standard, allowing you to have some customization that you won’t get in Strict mode. In Basic, you will get a lot of customization but less privacy. For Strict mode, certain websites may not be working properly.

It is quite simple to find out which trackers are blocked on the websites you visit on your Microsoft Edge browser.  You can:

  • Click on the lock icon (present on the URL)
  • Click Trackers on the bottom of the menu. Here, you will see the list! Chrome doesn’t offer this.

In Microsoft Edge, you can configure which site-by-site permissions you wish to offer. In Chrome, however, you can either block or allow for all the sites.

Like any other browser, Edge and Chrome both have private browsing tabs. You’ll see it listed as InPrivate on the Edge browser while Chrome refers to it as an Incognito tab. Such browser windows do not save any activity when it is used for internet browsing.

Takeaway

Overall, Edge enjoys an edge over Chrome in that running it requires fewer resources. Also, if you’ve previously sworn off Microsoft browsers, it may be worth a try.

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