In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft is shedding the original Edge browser for a complete rebuild of it once again. They aren’t changing the name, but they are changing the framework by building it on Google’s Chromium instead of something in-house. So if you are familiar with Google Chrome as a browser, you’ll get to know the new Edge browser just fine.
This helps provide a more stable browsing experience compared to the history of Microsoft’s original Internet Explorer and even the original Edge browser (and Edge was lightyears better than IE). The issue with the original Edge browser was lack of support for the most part. You didn’t find the endless amount of plugins that you find with browsers like Chrome or Firefox. Edge was nice, but it was sliding into the same direction as the Windows Phone devices.
Taking this new route creates one less thing that Microsoft has to build from scratch since it’s more like “building with” to make it their own instead. Like baking a cake using a kit vs going out and trying to acquire your own flour from grain that you are growing in the backyard and building everything from scratch. The kit is much quicker. Chromium also means that coding for the Edge browser should be close to the same as the Chrome browser, making it much easier for developers to support both platforms now. You can even use Chrome plugins with Edge (which we will get to in a moment). However, we will jump right into the most important step of where to find it.
How to download the NEW Microsoft Edge browser
Head over to Microsoft’s page here to manually download the new Edge browser. It will update and replace the original Edge browser if you already have it installed, replacing it with the new logo/icon. Most of your custom settings and information like bookmarks and cookies should follow to the new browser. Not everything since it is a completely new application of course, but they did a good job of making it as seamless as possible. It even logs you right in with your Microsoft account and walks you through making sure that you have the option of syncing your settings across all devices.
You now have the new Chromium edition of the Microsft Edge browser. New, improved, and so much more stable. Of course, if you already use the Chrome browser, then there is no reason to do any of this, but if you prefer to stick with Microsoft products, you now have the best of both worlds while maintaining the connection to Microsoft’s world (their search screens, their services, etc).
How to use Google Chrome plugins with the new Microsoft Edge browser
When you search for new extensions for this browser, it will default you to Microsoft’s own store of extensions. Of course, at the moment, they don’t really have a lot to choose from. They have much more than we had originally expected (based on their track record), but it still pales in comparison to Chrome. Thankfully, you can ALSO use Chrome plugins as well since it’s based on the same (or at least very similar) code to Chrome. Fair warning though, since Microsoft is able to customize a lot of things within the browser to make it their own, not every Chrome extension may work 100% as it would in the Chrome browser. It’s worth the try though.
- Click on the menu that features three dots (. . .) in the upper right of the browser.
- Within that menu, click on “Extensions”
- At the bottom left, click on the slider for “Allow extensions from other stores”.
- Visit the Chrome extension web store here (using Edge) and search for the extension you want. When you click on “Add to Chrome” on any given extension page, it will add it to Edge as if it was Chrome.
Done. You now have Chrome extensions loaded into your Microsoft Edge browser. This makes it so much easier to have a cross-compatibility in the tools you like to use within your browsers. You may want to bookmark the Chrome extension store within your favorites (bookmarks) so you can easily visit it anytime you like.
As mentioned, the Chrome extensions may not always be 100%. I myself like to use a number of extensions within Chrome, including the “Insert Text” extension since it makes certain repetitive tasks so much easier. It’s a great (and simple) little plugin, but it doesn’t work on every website within Edge for some reason. Works 100% in Chrome of course, but this serves as one example of where you might run into a slight hiccup.