Microsoft Replacing Edge Engine With Google's Chromium Blink: Report

Microsoft has a new browser project called 'Anaheim' that will do away with its proprietary EdgeHTML rendering engine in favor of Chromium's Blink Engine in the Edge browser, according to a recent report citing unnamed insider sources. No clarification has been put forward with regard to whether or not the Edge branding will be kept once the project is finalized or what impact the change might have on Edge-related projects. The user-facing side of Edge isn't likely to change or at least wouldn't require big changes and neither would the functionality that loyal fans have come to enjoy. Rather than Microsoft replacing Edge with Chrome itself, only the Chromium rendering engine is said to be used.

Background: While Google's ongoing open-source Chromium project has been helping lead the way in standardizing the web and changing the face of the computing environment in general, Microsoft's Edge hasn't been quite so fortunate. Initially launched in 2015, Edge hasn't been the top browser since at least 2016 following a shift from Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) in 2016. Both Edge and IE collectively take just 41.4-percent of the overall market share in April of that year, slightly behind Google Chrome. One plausible reason for that is that many users preferred older versions of the browser but were directed by Microsoft to update or change browsers -- primarily for security reasons. A significant number of those users chose to use a different browser instead of Edge due to inherent birthing issues with the newer browser's stability and compatibility.

Through Chromium, Google has spent the past several years consistently pushing web standards forward for both developers and mainstream users. That's been helped by Chrome's existence on nearly every platform and Chromium's use as the basis for many other popular browsers such as Opera. At the same time, Microsoft and Google have already apparently been working together on Chromium in the associated Gerrit code review, as recently as October. Those efforts have centered entirely around ensuring that Chromium works well on Window's ARM64-based computers. The code in question appeared to be built as close to 'from scratch' as possible and as a result, the changes were initially thought to be tied to the Chrome Browser itself. Google's web browser had reportedly had a lot of speed and stability issues running on the Window's hardware in question. The latest reports may indicate that wasn't the only reason for work to be completed on Chromium for Windows 10 on those machines.

Impact: Details about what exactly the Anaheim project is are still elusive but there has been some speculation about exactly what changes users of the current browser can expect once it's ready and launched. It isn't unfeasible that the change will decouple Microsoft's default browser from Windows OS updates, allowing the browser to receive security and feature improvements more regularly and without the hassle of restarting Windows. As mentioned above, the change is only occurring under the hood so there shouldn't need to be any major UI changes but it could alter Microsoft's plans for progressive web apps. The current expectation is that the browser will be laid out publicly over the course of the first half of 2019.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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