MICROSOFT IS edging closer to the big switch for its Edge browser.
The Chromium remake of the Windows 10 default browser has reached the all-important beta stage, making a full launch in the next six months or so very likely.
The important change is that the beta is the first version of the new browser that is considered ready for "everyday use".
Preview versions of Edge Chromium have been download over a million times already, but those development and Canary builds were riddled with bugs which have now been squished thanks to over 140,000 individual items of feedback from those intrepid few
In fact, Microsoft is so sure that prime-time is near that it has started rolling out its bug-bounty programme for Edge. Successfully finding a vulnerability could net you a cool $15k (£12.4k and falling in Boris Bucks).
Edge's rebirth using Google's Chromium engine has also seen it working with the residents of Alphabet Castle closer than ever, with over 1000 commits to the joint project over a four-month period.
Part of that process has been about Microsoft's engineers moving their production over to a more Chrome-like cycle. As such, expect new betas every six weeks or so, based on graduating builds from Dev and Canary.
Edge's current EdgeTML browser will continue for some time - probably until the next Spring update to Windows is early 2020. At that time, it looks like users will simply upgrade Edge as normal to the new version.
It's kind of weird, but this applies to Windows 7 and 8 too, even though Windows 7 is just months from end-of-life.
Microsoft already has plans in place to ensure that any web apps written for old-Edge will be supported, including any standalone apps that use the current Edge engine.
Edge Chromium will also include access to some features not supported by other Chromium browsers, most notably the library of thousands of extensions. µ
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