12 votes

Chromium-based preview builds of Microsoft Edge are now available for Windows 10

22 comments

  1. ThatFanficGuy Link
    Screenshots from the Dev version available as of the time of this comment: When you first start the browser (automatically after install), you see a new tab with "Import Settings?" prompt and a...

    Screenshots from the Dev version available as of the time of this comment:

    When you first start the browser (automatically after install), you see a new tab with "Import Settings?" prompt and a background tab that welcomes you to the Dev channel. I chose to start from scratch, and it pointed me to the second and last prompt: choosing the layout of the new tab. The options are: Inspirational (with a background image), Informational, and Focused (Informational without the most-visited-sites part).

    When you scroll down on the new tab, you see a Microsoft News feed.

    You can pick the layout options in the burger menu on the top-right of the new tab. There, you can also choose to add or remove the most-visited-sites block and the background image, and you can choose whether to show the news feed always or only on scroll.

    Of interest on the welcome-to-Dev page is improvements-to-come. Dark Mode, Reading Mode, smooth scrolling, translation capacity, and accessibility improvements are a regular in the modern browser. What stands out is the "grammar tools", which are supposed to "break words into syllables and highlight parts of speech".

    A lot of settings are Chromium regulars, recognizable even under the Edge looks.

    You can send feedback about the browser with the smiley-face button where the Chromium extensions would be – which is good, given that I'm running a Dev version. The feedback form automatically screenshots the page you're on, which you can choose to include in your feedback (it defaults to not sending the screenshot). Interesting that the feedback is a separate window, meaning I can test things without disrupting the reporting process.

    The DevTools are so very Chromium – and yet, the dark theme in enabled within the DevTools frame by default. That said, the "show me the rest of the tabs in DevTools" menu is white and rounded, while the "rest of DevTools options" menu is dark-themed and shard-edged.

    The private-mode is called InPrivate.

    You can install apps – which, basically, lets you use the website you "install" as a separate window, even without Edge itself open. You can pin the "app" site like you could a desktop app.

    You can also install extensions, which are separate from apps. You can install them from the Microsoft Store, and you have the option to allow installation from other stores (see bottom left corner; Edge prompts you for confirmation before setting the option). There's already a handful of addons, including YouTube enhancers, adblocks, calculators, form-auto-fillers, password-keepers etc. etc. You can't open extension pages in separate tabs like you can with Firefox and Chrome.

    The default search is, naturally, Bing.

    You can choose to "Read Aloud" the page you're on in the options menu. The voices and reading speed are adjustable. The default voice for me, on Windows 10, was Microsoft Zira, which sounds unmistakably robotic. For some reason, there isn't an option for two out of five voices I have installed on my laptop, one of which – Microsoft Mark – sounds more tolerable as a robot trying to impersonate a human. You can pause the reading, and skip back and forward in text during the reading.

    13 votes
  2. [18]
    nothis Link
    Sigh, I never thought it would make me so sad to see a Microsoft browser go. Google successfully bullied out all competitors by forcing non-standard functionalities that have become essential to...

    Sigh, I never thought it would make me so sad to see a Microsoft browser go. Google successfully bullied out all competitors by forcing non-standard functionalities that have become essential to run their services. We're back to the "works best with Internet Explorer 5.0" days of the internet, only that it's Chrome now and even Microsoft caved.

    They can pry Firefox from my cold, dead hands. Plus, it's actually good now.

    19 votes
    1. [16]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      so, let me rant here for a moment There's a lot of talk about browser ecosystem diversity, and how killing Edge also gives way to Google to dominate the market with Chrome... What people aren't...

      so, let me rant here for a moment

      There's a lot of talk about browser ecosystem diversity, and how killing Edge also gives way to Google to dominate the market with Chrome...

      What people aren't saying much is that Edge and IE were always behind the times. They developed omnipresent features slowly and dragged everybody else behind. Having early market dominance with IE is one of the things I dislike about Microsoft, because now, I as a web dev have to focus on also supporting older IE browsers 'cause people aren't keen on moving from them, often for a variety of good reasons.

      I'd like to just say "fuck you, IE users, get on with the times", but I can't, 'cause design is about people, and if there's a sufficient audience that may visit my site that uses newer IE browsers, I better pucker up and kiss those polyfills and workarounds, no matter how silly or how old the JS methods I have to replicate, 'cause people might still use it.

      But, yeah, Google bullied it – by being technologically superior.

      Nobody talked about Edge being important to the browser ecosystem until it was gone, and now it's all the woe. Can you guys not? It doesn't take much to develop a new core for a browser if you know what you're doing. Amateurs are creating operating systems left and right – I cannot fucking believe building a browser should be any more difficult. Folks from CSS Tricks could probably build a decent beta in two weeks of afterhours work. Nobody's doing it.

      There's a handful of decent small browsers out, too. Wexond's v2 is pretty good, early-beta that it is. Min is pretty good. Next has an interesting concept. There's even a P2P browser. Nobody's talking about it. It's all Chrome and Firefox; maybe Brave now and then.

      But sure, yeah, "the death of browser diversity" and all that.

      5 votes
      1. [6]
        nothis Link Parent
        This is not true. There's several cases in which Google pushed changes to their websites with the sole purpose of breaking competing browsers. Here's a former Edge dev talking about how Google...

        But, yeah, Google bullied it – by being technologically superior.

        This is not true. There's several cases in which Google pushed changes to their websites with the sole purpose of breaking competing browsers. Here's a former Edge dev talking about how Google intentionally made unnecessary changes to their websites to break competing browsers. Here's an example of a Mozilla dev fixing a Chrome bug because "a Google property broke and they changed the browser to not comply with the spec instead of fixing their website". Here's another example of youtube relying on some non-standard API, which slows the site down on other browsers. Here's an example of someone trying to build their own browser only to have Google block their non-standard DRM which is now wildly used.

        It doesn't take much to develop a new core for a browser if you know what you're doing.

        Making "a browser" is easy. Making a fast, fully-featured, standards-compliant browser is not. That's an effort that can only be carried out by a handful of organizations. It's bad to have one giant corporation have total vertical control over the internet. Google now has the most popular operating system, the most popular browser and the most popular search engine in the world. That's not good.

        22 votes
        1. [4]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          All of those links are interesting but beside the point I was making, which is that Chromium is technologically superior to Edge, which is what, I think, caused the latter's collapse and...

          All of those links are interesting but beside the point I was making, which is that Chromium is technologically superior to Edge, which is what, I think, caused the latter's collapse and Microsoft's switch to a Chromium base for their browser.

          Making a fast, fully-featured, standards-compliant browser is not. That's an effort that can only be carried out by a handful of organizations.

          I don't see how that can be true. The Internet is vast and full of determined, capable web developers of all sorts of trades. It may take time and dedication, but it can be done. What bothers me is ratio of the amount of people who moan about the loss to those willing to do something about it.

          The question then becomes: do those devs care enough to put effort into it?

          Google now has the most popular operating system

          At first I thought "Surely that can't be true: that's Windows, right?", but no, you're correct, as per this Wikipedia page. 54% worldwide market share for Android is no joke.

          That's not good.

          And yet, nobody's doing a thing about it. How about that?

          Forgive my ranting. I can't stand it when all people do about something is oy and vey without talking about the change required. I see the same thing here, and it doesn't seem right to me that in the age where a handful of anonymous trolls can take down a flag in the middle of nowhere, hack the US governmental websites, and hunt down a false lead that paints an innocent man a terrorist and a target for the US intelligence community, someone with more skills and determination can't sit down and make a new model that makes the old one obsolete. Not like tearing down old systems in the age of the Internet hasn't been done before.

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            nothis Link Parent
            I mean, that's bad but it doesn't invalidate the arguments against an internet monopoly. Also Firefox exists.

            And yet, nobody's doing a thing about it. How about that?

            I mean, that's bad but it doesn't invalidate the arguments against an internet monopoly. Also Firefox exists.

            8 votes
            1. [2]
              ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              No, it doesn't. I'm saying someone's gotta start somewhere.

              that's bad but it doesn't invalidate the arguments against an internet monopoly

              No, it doesn't. I'm saying someone's gotta start somewhere.

              1. nothis Link Parent
                I think the real problem is that it's getting harder the more an established browser can dictate its own way of doing things. In theory, there should be a standard way HTML is rendered, CSS is...

                I think the real problem is that it's getting harder the more an established browser can dictate its own way of doing things. In theory, there should be a standard way HTML is rendered, CSS is rendered and JavaScript is interpreted. But what if a browser just does in a slightly different way that breaks standards and every major website designs around that? Suddenly, sites will break or slow down in other browsers, as is happening with Chrome. If you patent the technology at play or even just embed it deep into some complex systems, it's impossible for competitors to stay compatible.

                8 votes
        2. dblohm7 Link Parent
          And now they're using their control of both client and server to influence the protocols. Don't get me wrong, I'm not denying that SPDY and QUIC have brought forth some important changes, but I...

          It's bad to have one giant corporation have total vertical control over the internet. Google now has the most popular operating system, the most popular browser and the most popular search engine in the world. That's not good.

          And now they're using their control of both client and server to influence the protocols. Don't get me wrong, I'm not denying that SPDY and QUIC have brought forth some important changes, but I can't help but wonder when we will reach the point where Google decides not to bother with the standardization process anymore.

      2. [7]
        Grand0rbiter Link Parent
        The thing is not the browser itself, but the engine. Now there is less one. Now it's only gecko vs blink. Webkit is way behind. All those other browsers are using webkit or blink (which is google...

        The thing is not the browser itself, but the engine. Now there is less one. Now it's only gecko vs blink. Webkit is way behind.

        All those other browsers are using webkit or blink (which is google chrome). So it's still a monopoly by Google. Building a engine is a lot of work.

        What google did was make everybody dependent and locked on it's services. Google docs, mail, drive, everything. Now that the entire world is using it's services by default, they can create new functionalities, functions or whatever and implement hand in hand in the browser/engine, others engines are left to play catch up.

        There is no fair competition for other browsers/engines in this situation because google will have the advantage forever as long as we stay using their services. And every android phone, which is what everyone uses as a personal computer these days, have google services by default.

        6 votes
        1. Elronnd Link Parent
          There are netrunner and netsurf and dillo, all of which have their own engines. Netsurf is probably the most usable, but although none of them support js, they're moving.

          There are netrunner and netsurf and dillo, all of which have their own engines. Netsurf is probably the most usable, but although none of them support js, they're moving.

          2 votes
        2. [5]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          No it fucking didn't. You can freely choose the services you use. If you're confused about the variety and just want one to be picked for you, that's not Google's fault (not that I want to defend...

          What google did was make everybody dependent and locked on it's services.

          No it fucking didn't. You can freely choose the services you use. If you're confused about the variety and just want one to be picked for you, that's not Google's fault (not that I want to defend the dark patterns they use). The responsibility is on you as a user.

          And that's the thing: you can choose not to use Google. I think a lot of people don't consider that: Google the search engine is quick and useful, and you don't know what it collects unless you dig for it; and the services it provides beside the search itself are pretty much okay – good enough to default to. I think that's the issue: people default to Google 'cause it's easy, and they may not know well-enough to consider other options. Not like there's much educational material on the subject out there, or a crash course on why things like online privacy etc. matter.

          You dig at that, and you may well have yourself some diversity. But who's gonna do that? I'm just a writer, right?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Grand0rbiter Link Parent
            People default to google because the majority of the users are tech illiterate and do what comes by default in their smartphones. My entire family doesn't know there are other search engines...

            People default to google because the majority of the users are tech illiterate and do what comes by default in their smartphones.

            My entire family doesn't know there are other search engines (google is way beyond being a search engine now), i have people at work that opens the browser and uses the google search as an address bar. They even type gmail or facebook in the google search and click the link in the results. Remember what happened when another site was the first result when you typed facebook on google search? That website comment section was floored with questions asking "where's the login? Where's my profile?"

            When my mother bought a new smartphone, do you think she stops to enlighten herself about what it means to make a google account, that will backup everything automatically without any effort? It's asked on the first boot and only takes a minute.

            Did you try to set up alternatives using third party apps and services? It's not something that the regular user will do.

            It's not a matter of being easy, it's a matter of default services on android being owned by google.

            4 votes
            1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              You've just paraphrased my idea back to me. I don't see how that invalidates the idea that there can be something done about the tech illiteracy. The reason why she doesn't ponder the nature of a...

              People default to google because the majority of the users are tech illiterate and do what comes by default in their smartphones.

              You've just paraphrased my idea back to me.

              When my mother bought a new smartphone, do you think she stops to enlighten herself about what it means to make a google account, that will backup everything automatically without any effort? It's asked on the first boot and only takes a minute.

              I don't see how that invalidates the idea that there can be something done about the tech illiteracy. The reason why she doesn't ponder the nature of a Google account is because what the hell is water?.

              That can be done something about.

              Did you try to set up alternatives using third party apps and services? It's not something that the regular user will do.

              Do you know why nerds are nerds? Because they know stuff – stuff that would seem arcane to most people. Why do they know stuff? They started off curious, and they read more than others would, and the former compounded the latter.

              I didn't know there was such a thing as jailbreaking for iOS until I stumbled upon it. I read about it. I sounded nice. I tried it. It didn't work on my iPhone, for some reason. Probably an odd combination of an unusual, barely-supported-by-jailbreaks model (5c) and the latest x86 iOS version (10.3.3). Oh well.

              Now, I'm not your average user. I'm mediocrely-skilled, but intensely-curious about all sorts of tech. I can't code my own build process, but I can tell you about the shit it can do. The issue is passing over this kind of curiosity onto others.

              The defaults stop mattering when you come in educated. The issue is not Google's monopoly so much as the population's techical skill with some of the basic devices they use.

          2. [2]
            alyaza (edited ) Link Parent
            the free market argument is dumb in most circumstances, but it's outright bullshit with respect to internet powerhouses. you can technically cut google out of your life, yes, but you are severely...

            the free market argument is dumb in most circumstances, but it's outright bullshit with respect to internet powerhouses. you can technically cut google out of your life, yes, but you are severely kneecapping your ability to actively use the internet to the point where a lot of websites flat out do not work unless you allow certain google services to work, because google has its hands in everything and has services that far, far outdo any competing services simply because google has resources and power that other corporations--and certainly no startups--could ever hope to achieve. there is literally a gizmodo article which demonstrates this in action.

            so sure, you technically have the "free choice" to associate or not associate with google. but unless you're about to and able to spend probably an hour a day working around parts of the internet literally not working, and relying on inferior, wonkier, less reliable services than what google can serve you up in an instant or services that require you to pay out of pocket, you have no real free choice in a lot of industries where google has the standard service or technology. if i could, i wouldn't use google, but the reality is that i--and most people with a stake in google services--will never be able to fully dissociate myself from google, because i simply do not have the time, energy, money, patience, or ability to do so. google is not just a search engine or a phone or an internet browser. it's some of the very backbone of modern websites.

            (addendum: oh, and this doesn't even account for things like gmail, where if you send an email to a gmail address you're also technically still associating with google because y'know, that's what most people also have nowadays.)

            4 votes
            1. emdash Link Parent
              Agreed. Google, Facebook, et. al. should be redefined as a modern representation of a common carrier, and held to certain antitrust & legal standards due to their huge market capture & influence...

              Agreed. Google, Facebook, et. al. should be redefined as a modern representation of a common carrier, and held to certain antitrust & legal standards due to their huge market capture & influence on the internet.

              1 vote
      3. babypuncher Link Parent
        Nobody's working to make sure their website functions in Wexond or Min. The problem isn't a lack of alternative browsers, it's a lack of alternative browsers with enough market share to enforce a...

        Nobody's working to make sure their website functions in Wexond or Min. The problem isn't a lack of alternative browsers, it's a lack of alternative browsers with enough market share to enforce a standards-based web experience.

        4 votes
      4. emdash Link Parent
        The problem is your comment misses so much about the interplay between users, companies, & antitrust laws by focusing purely on the technology side of the problem. People should be concerned about...

        The problem is your comment misses so much about the interplay between users, companies, & antitrust laws by focusing purely on the technology side of the problem. People should be concerned about this because Microsoft's decision to throw in the towel on developing their own rendering engine further entrenches Chromium as the de facto browser of choice, and by abusing their monopoly position on search, they've been able to arrive in a monopoly position in the browser space too. This positive feedback loop only allows Google to further solidify their position in other spaces too.

        And if it wasn't for their complete ineptness at developing other products—from messaging applications to phones to other services—you can be damn sure they would've captured these markets via monopoly position too.

        This is one of the reasons I refuse to use as many Google services as possible. The path they've taken, from "don't be evil" to today's corporate behemoth is so hilariously typical & disappointing of corporate America that it's an indictment on the failures of the government to regulate big technology companies, and an indictment on society's willingness to accept this as the status quo.

        4 votes
    2. Wes (edited ) Link Parent
      Maybe, but for a completely different reason. People design "Chrome-only" features because Chrome is the first to implement them. Firefox is usually the second, with IE/Safari lagging behind....

      We're back to the "works best with Internet Explorer 5.0" days of the internet, only that it's Chrome now and even Microsoft caved.

      Maybe, but for a completely different reason. People design "Chrome-only" features because Chrome is the first to implement them. Firefox is usually the second, with IE/Safari lagging behind. That's how it's been for years. Devs are still implementing standard features though, unlike IE's awful proprietary features.

      Google successfully bullied out all competitors by forcing non-standard functionalities that have become essential to run their services.

      I don't think that's a fair appraisal. Google has been a significant part of the standardization process. New features still go through that process. I'm sure they've used their presence to push for some standards, but that doesn't mean they've bullied others. Things are significantly better under the WHATWG than they were under the W3C, and it's because the browser vendors are cooperating to move the web forward.

  3. [3]
    aymm Link
    I really hope that they add their Fluent Design back in. I love the looks of "regular" Edge

    I really hope that they add their Fluent Design back in. I love the looks of "regular" Edge

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      I've posted screenshots of the latest build in the comments. You might wanna take a look.

      I've posted screenshots of the latest build in the comments. You might wanna take a look.

      1 vote
      1. aymm Link Parent
        Exactly. They took away their Fluent Design language which they used in Edge. So I'm hoping that they add it back in

        Exactly. They took away their Fluent Design language which they used in Edge. So I'm hoping that they add it back in