3 Months With The Microsoft Chromium Browser: It Is Still Awesome

I’ve been using the pre-release version of Microsoft’s new Chromium-based browser for around 3 months now and I continue to be impressed.  I’m particularly impressed that this product isn’t even released yet. Now I’ve been a long time IE user and did try to move to the Microsoft Edge browser, but incompatibility issues actually got me to abandon both and switch to Google Chrome and also install Firefox for those times when even Chrome didn’t work properly.  I basically had 4 browsers in use IE for legacy support, Edge which had been my default until it broke, Chrome which became my standard, and Firefox for emergencies.  

Moving To Chromium Edge 

That is a long way from where I was with just IE around a decade ago and I missed the simplicity of one browser.  Well I found out about the new Microsoft Chromium browser, downloaded it, and was impressed with its speed and compatibility to much I made it my default and I again live in one browser. Like with any Beta there have been a few issues but honestly no more than I typically had with any other browser.  

Most of the stuff like autofill, password caching, and flash support (which will end by year end for security reasons) just work.  (Hopefully the Arlo folks who do my security cameras and use Flash will shift to something else by then or I will have to go back to some other browser for camera support).  

But there is more, there is a secret (well not anymore) menu for features in the browser and there are some impressive features that will be coming when this browser releases.  

Let’s talk about some of them.  (By the way if you want to try this browser out, be aware it is still beta, you can find the download link here).  

Secret Menu

Now one of the most interesting new features is enhanced tracking prevention.  This is how I found out about the secret menu and all the other wonderful things you can turn on and play with.  If you go to this blog post it walks you through how to load the menu.  Once you use the menu to turn on Tracking Prevention you get to select three levels from basic, which still allows ads but blocks malicious attackers, to balanced which includes blocks for questionable third-party trackers (you really don’t want them either), to strict which blocks most third-party trackers but is so aggressive it might break some web sites.  But if you don’t want folks you don’t know tracking you strict is still likely your best choice.  

You can also selectively turn off tracking prevention for sites you trust (this allows them to make money off you with advertisers or offers helping pay for that site).  The post walks you through the options, but it is the other features that caught my eye.

Here are some of the interesting features.  Auto translate for when you hit a foreign site, a place holder for occluded windows which lowers the loading on your system by preventing rendering of things you can’t see, there is a new experimental USB back end (no idea what this does and I’m not messing with it), better credit card import, a bunch of VR features including OpenVR support, orientation sensors for Extended Reality headsets, a number of performance enhancing features like the ability to write graphics to hardware, and some experimental web platform features I’m also going to leave alone.   Most of the rest of the stuff, particularly the hardware acceleration, I’ve enabled, and it all seems to work.  

Wrapping Up:  A Browser To Fall In Love With

This Chromium Edge browser is kind of the best of all worlds, it supports old IE and Edge content, it fully supports Chromium for current content, you don’t have to juggle browsers, and it has enough setting to keep you exploring for some time if you open the not so secret menu.   

I live in my browser using it for research while writing and for breaks I drop over to YouTube and watch Crazy Russian Drivers videos.  (I am never driving in that country and am happy to view it from a distance, those people are truly crazy drivers).   

In the end, though I just can’t get over how good this browser is.   It isn’t just impressive; it just seems to get better and better over time.  And that is the way it should have always been.