Operating Systems/Programming

Microsoft’s Next Browser, Codenamed “Anaheim”

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Microsoft’s Edge browser has been almost forgotten as of late, as per StatCounter, Edge had only about 2% of the browser market last month. Google Chrome recently celebrated its tenth birthday, and its widespread use and popularity soar past all other options. Why is this, and what is Microsoft doing to fix their browser’s failures?

Microsoft’s Edge has been plagued with errors since its inception three years ago and while they have been dramatically improving it by adding extensions and coming out on top during speed tests, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has actually had a more substantial increase in users than Edge in Q1 2018 (weird, I know).

Well, there is a light in the tunnel, so to speak, for Microsoft in the form of a new browser that is in development, codenamed “Anaheim.”

Per Windows Central, Microsoft is giving up EdgeHTML, the rendering engine used with Edge, and replacing it with Chromium; a codebase first widely used with Google’s Chrome browser, Blink. This new browser, “Anaheim,” will replace Edge as the default browser for Windows 10.

The beauty of using Chromium is its ability to operate similarly to Google Chrome; seamlessly navigating websites and not falling victim to the same performance and instability issues that Edge has been inflicted with. For a little background on Chromium, it isn’t really an engine, more of a codebase that initially used Webkit, which is an engine (many of the articles regarding this story refer to Chromium as an engine, and that is not entirely accurate).

Microsoft’s transition to Chromium is powered by EdgeHTML falling short on getting its performance and features to work consistently. Microsoft is known to attempt to ‘reinvent the wheel’ when creating new products, and I am glad to see that in this case, there are simply trying to augment it. It is important to note that Chrome OS is a completely different open-source project from Chromium open-source browser. Chromium’s benefits, in my opinion, are having the flexibility and prior successful history needed to accomplish this task of creating a new browser.

While we still do not know much about Microsoft’s “Anaheim,” I for one am excited to see what this new browser can do in terms of bridging the gap between itself, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. When I first heard this news, I began to wonder how this new browser will differ from Edge regarding plugins, extensions, and mobile functionality. Additionally, it will be interesting to see if “Anaheim” will adopt Edge’s UI or go in a completely different path. Currently, I have more questions than answers. However, I am sure Microsoft will make an announcement shortly, confirming or denying my initial suspicions.

Sources:

StatCounter. 4 Dec 2018. Browser Market Share Worldwide. Retrieved from http://gs.statcounter.com/.

Bowden, Zack. Windows Central. 3 Dec 2018. Microsoft is building a Chromium-powered web browser that will replace Edge on Windows 10. Retrieved from https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-building-chromium-powered-web-browser-windows-10.

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