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Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge browser is now generally available

It was back in early December 2018 when Microsoft first announced its radical plans to replace its in-house Edge browser with one that's based on Google's open-source Chromium. Today, the new browser is generally available. If you're on Windows 10, you can expect to see it show up on your PC over the next few months if you don't already have it.

Public testing for the browser didn't arrive until April, and it was only for Windows 10, and only for Canary and Dev channels. Support for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, macOS, Windows Server 2008/2012, and Windows Server 2016+ all came later, as did the Beta channel.

Obviously, the biggest improvement in the new Edge is that it's based on Chromium, which means that it will render the web in the same way as the most popular browser in the world, Google Chrome. Of course, Microsoft has stripped out all of the Google and added its own bits. It's also contributed quite a bit to the Chromium Project.

Since it's based on Chromium, you'll actually now be able to use Chrome extensions. Developers can submit their extensions to Microsoft, or you can choose to install them from Google's Chrome Store.

There are some other new features to call out though. Edge Chromium now has a feature called IE Mode, which will open an Internet Explorer page right within a tab in Edge. It's meant for businesses that have legacy needs, so they'll no longer have to use IE. Of course, IE will continue to ship with Windows 10 for the foreseeable future.

Another key new feature is called Collections. This allows you to gather up links, images, text, and anything else from around the web and put them into different groups. There are also new privacy features, and a whole lot more.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that Edge will be missing out of the gate. It won't have native support for ARM64, so if you've got a Windows on ARM PC, you'll have to stick with Edge Canary or Edge Dev for now. Two other things missing will be history syncing and extension syncing. Also, it's not exactly a priority, but the new Edge browser for Xbox One and HoloLens will also be coming later on.

Again, if you're on Windows 10, you're going to see this show up soon through a Windows update, and it will replace the Edge Legacy browser. If you're on any other supported platform, you'll have to go out and get it. The browser is coming today for Windows 7, which is no longer supported, and while it's unclear how long Edge will remain supported on the legacy OS, Google has committed to another 18 months of full Chrome support.

If you want to get the new Edge now, you can download the stable version here. As always, you can download a preview version here.

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