I have loved using Microsoft Edge the past few weeks to the point of leaving Google Chrome. I have used Google Chrome for the past decade and for the first time in years, I have switched browsers completely.
There was a time when web browsers were terrible. Yes, I’m talking about you, Internet Explorer. Loading webpages was slow, the use of Adobe Flash for animations slowed down your computer and so many other things. We thank Steve Jobs and Apple for killing Adobe Flash for HTML5 but I digress.
This is why when I switched to Google Chrome a decade ago, it felt like a dream. I am now feeling the same way with the new Microsoft Edge.
Google Chrome was great for a number of reasons. It was faster than any other browser available. Chrome extensions made Google Chrome extremely powerful and versatile. It was suspiciously good at playing YouTube videos than other browsers. These functions and many more made me switch and it has been my preferred browser for a decade.
Chrome is now the leading browser in the world and it surpassed Internet Explorer some years back. It has a browser share of 65% and by default, you will see people download it to use it instead of the default Microsoft Edge or other browsers like Firefox. Developers also use Chrome a lot and it has made it almost ubiquitous.
Microsoft had a problem. They introduced Microsoft Edge which was way better than Internet Explorer but people still downloaded Chrome. Their next move was my favourite yet: they decided to make Edge exactly like Chrome.
If you’re not a geek, you wouldn’t know that Chrome runs on the Chromium engine. Chromium is an open-source project from Google and you can use it to make a web browser. People seem to love Chrome so Microsoft decided to ditch the old Edge engine and repackage Edge based on Chromium.
When I first heard of this, I was a bit sceptical. Microsoft was basically making a Chrome version of Edge and it felt rather desperate. I tried the beta Edge web browser based on Chromium and I didn’t like it so I continued using Chrome as my main browser.
Months passed and Microsoft Edge based on Chrome was made as the default browser on Windows 10 May 2020 update. I still didn’t use it, until the day Chrome started bothering me. Little did I know that everything had changed from that update when they released the general version.
As we know, Chrome is a RAM hog. I have 8GB of RAM (i know I know it is little) but in this instance, Chrome became a bother. About a month ago, I realized that Chrome used way more RAM than usual. A few tabs in and it quickly gobbled up RAM like a hungry high schooler.
I then remembered about the new Microsoft Edge based on Chromium and decided to give it a try. Since they are technically the same browser, moving my history and extensions was a breeze. You have to sign in using a Microsoft account, which is no problem since I already have one for my Windows account.
The change was immediate.
The first thing I noticed was that Edge felt smoother. It felt like the old Chrome I knew, the fast browser that just worked. It also used way less RAM than I remember for the same number of tabs as Chrome. There were not stutters and the fans didn’t ramp up as much. I was used to the constant ramping up of the fans while on Chrome, but on Edge, everything was quiet. It was surreal.
All of my extensions worked as well as I can remember on Chrome. The only thing I had to do to switch completely was to change my default search to Google (not a fan of Bing). To do this, go to Settings > Privacy and Services > Address bar and choose Google as the default search engine to use on the address bar.
Edge has its idiosyncrasies
Although the new Edge browser is basically Chrome made by Microsoft, it still has its own unique aspects. First, there is a share button on the top bar that you use to natively share content to contacts.
The home feed also allows you to choose between either a focused, inspirational, informational or custom layout. Microsoft also uses Bing wallpapers to furnish your homepage with colourful wallpapers, which is quite nice.
It also has Internet Explorer integration for those ‘incompatible’ sites that are still floating around.
I’m not going back to Chrome
Microsoft’s decision to finally adopt Chromium paid off immensely. They managed to build a better Chrome than Google themselves and for the first time, there is no need to download Chrome via Edge when you set up your laptop. It works really well and frankly, I am not going back.
I have managed to convince a number of people to switch to Edge over the past month of using it and they are loving it. I have also seen people commenting positively about the new Edge and Google Chrome has a serious problem in their hands if they still want to maintain that 65% market share