2019-08-20 by W.M.
Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser moves closer to release with new beta version
Microsoft is making a beta version of its Chromium Edge browser available to download today. The Microsoft Edge beta will be available for all supported versions of Windows and macOS, and the software maker is encouraging businesses and regular enthusiasts to take a closer look at the new browser. So far, there have been more than 1 million downloads of preview builds of Edge, and Microsoft says it has received more than 140,000 individual pieces of feedback.
“Beta represents the most stable preview channel, as features are added to Beta only after they have cleared quality testing in first the Canary channel and then the Dev channel,” explains Joe Belfiore, CVP of Microsoft’s Windows Experiences. “Major version updates can be expected roughly every six weeks, alongside periodic minor updates for bug fixes and security.”
The beta milestone is important for Microsoft as the company now considers this version of the browser “ready for everyday use.” Microsoft is backing this up with a bug bounty security program for this new version of Edge, with rewards of up to $15,000 for security researchers who discover vulnerabilities.
Beta also means that Microsoft is edging closer to the release stage for its Chromium browser. Microsoft first released its Canary and Developer builds of Edge back in April, and the company has spent the past four months working alongside Google to improve Chromium for Windows with more than 1,000 commits to the project. That work also involves Microsoft getting used to the cadence of delivering a Chromium browser, with daily builds for Canary, weekly for Developer, and now beta builds every six weeks.
Microsoft doesn’t have an exact release date in mind, but Edge isn’t likely to enter the stable channel and be ready for release until early 2020. Microsoft still has some work to do on introducing the features it announced back at Build as well as improving the sync experience to cover extensions, tabs, and more. Collections, which is designed for web users to be able to more easily collect text, images, and information from the internet into a note, will be available behind a flag in the Canary builds today.
Microsoft will also have to handle the tricky task of moving Windows 10 users over to Edge at some point next year and replace the existing browser that’s built into the operating system. It’s still not clear exactly how or when Microsoft will handle this, but a leaked copy of the stable version of Edge simply removes the existing built-in Edge browser once it’s installed.
Until Microsoft is ready to release this new Chromium browser, the beta version of Edge is as close as you’re going to get to a stable channel release. You can download the latest beta preview over at Microsoft’s Edge Insiders site.