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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

How Microsoft Is About to Make Google Chrome Even Better

You’ve probably heard Microsoft will base its Edge browser on Chromium, the open-source project that forms the basis for Google Chrome. That won’t just make Edge better—Microsoft contributing to Chromium means Microsoft’s efforts will make Chrome better, too.

All Browser Engines Are Now Open Source

Many people are wringing their hands about Microsoft partnering with Google to gain control over the Internet. But Microsoft abandoning the EdgeHTML browser engine is awesome news. Microsoft’s EdgeHTML was the last closed-source browser engine. Now, all the browser engines will be open-source.

This means work on Edge will improve Chrome, and work on Chrome will improve Edge. Other browsers based on Chromium, like Opera, will also reap the rewards. If you’re a Chrome user, Microsoft is about to make your browser even better. We’re a long way from the days of “Scroogled” here.

Better Touch Support

Edge may have its problems, but it’s always had a pretty great touch interface. Scrolling performance on a modern laptop with a Precision Touchpad is also excellent and smooth. That makes sense, as Microsoft is trying to push touch-based PCs with Windows 10.

Microsoft’s open source intent document clarifies that this is one of its “initial areas of focus.” Specifically, Microsoft says it “can help improve desktop touch, gesture recognition, and scroll/panning smoothness, particularly on newer, more modern Windows devices.”

A cynic would read this line and think “Oh sure, Microsoft has to do a bunch of work to bring Chromium up to par with Edge’s current touch support.” But all that work won’t just help Edge—it will be part of Chromium, and all Microsoft’s future work to improve touch responsiveness will make Chrome even better on touch PCs.

Longer Battery Life

Microsoft doesn’t mention battery life much in its intent document, but we expect Microsoft will help Chrome use even less power, lengthening battery life for all those Windows users running Chrome.

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