Late last year Microsoft confirmed that it was rebuilding its floundering web browser, Edge, to be based on Google’s rival Chromium engine, and it now looks like almost anyone will be able to test it out.
Usually, early versions of Microsoft’s software, such as major updates like the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, are made available to users who have signed up to become ‘Windows Insiders’. When Microsoft announced that an early version of its brand-new Chromium-based Edge browser would be available to test early 2019, many people assumed that you would need to be a Windows Insider to try it out.
Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case, with Techdows reporting that Microsoft has announced that the upcoming Edge Preview build will be made available as a separate download. This means you don’t need to download and install a Windows 10 Insider build to test it – which is only available to Windows Insiders.
- Microsoft confirms Edge will be able to use Google Chrome Extensions
- Former Edge intern hints Google made changes to mess with Microsoft’s browser
- Microsoft shows Edge is the best web browser for long battery life
Giving it a try
The fact that anyone can try out Chromium-based Edge before it launches is a really smart move in our view. First, many people don’t want to sign up to be Windows Insiders, and for good reasons.
While Windows Insider builds can give you early versions of Windows 10 before anyone else, because they are early versions of the software, bugs and other issues may still be present. So, it’s understandable that many people who rely on their PCs every day won’t want to risk installing a version of Windows that isn't finished.
By making Chromium Edge a separate download, users won’t have to risk installing a potentially buggy operating system.
Also, the more people Microsoft can get to test out early versions of Chromium Edge, the more feedback it’ll get, which will help it squash any bugs and identify any features that users are asking for. The end result should be a much better internet browser – something Microsoft desperately needs.
Who knows, if offering Edge as a separate download (and not tied to Windows 10) is a success, perhaps Microsoft will consider keeping it that way – allowing people on other versions of Windows, and even other operating systems – to use it.
- Here’s out pick of the best web browsers of 2019
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Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.