Personally, we think Apple’s own Safari offers a great browsing experience for Mac users — after all it matches the fixed default browser on the iPhone and iPad, offers great performance, privacy, and continuity features, and feels right at home on macOS.
However, as over two decades of “browser wars” have demonstrated, there are a lot of different needs and opinions out there when it comes to browsers, and valid reasons to prefer alternatives.
For instance, users who are heavily invested in the Google ecosystem of apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Drive, may legitimately find Google’s own Chrome to be the better choice, and there’s no argument that both Chrome and Firefox offer a much richer collection of plug-ins and extensions.
Now it looks like Microsoft is actively throwing its hat into the ring, giving Mac users the option of using its latest Edge browser. The Chromium-based browser was released in early preview form for Windows 10 users last month, and earlier this week Microsoft began teasing screenshots of what the experience will look like for macOS users.
Although Microsoft didn’t provide any indication as to when Mac users might actually see even a dev build of the browser, The Verge has discovered that official download links have already leaked out. Twitter user WalkingCat found the links to both the daily “Canary” builds of the new browser as well as the more stable weekly “Dev” builds, so if you’re eager to try out Microsoft’s latest take on a Mac web browser, you can grab an appropriate build from either of the following links:
According to The Verge, it looks like Microsoft is mostly working on some of the final touches at this point, with support for proper Mac keyboard shortcuts, as well as playing with the button placement to make Edge feel more at home on macOS. Microsoft is also planning to include Touch Bar support for the newer MacBooks, which will allow users to switch tabs directly from the Touch Bar.
There are also a few upcoming features that don’t appear to be in the macOS builds yet, including Microsoft’s new privacy controls and the new “Collections” feature that will allow users to easily gather up and organize images, text, and general notes from the web. It’s unclear whether the privacy controls that Microsoft offers will be nearly as robust and intelligent as those in Safari, but despite the underlying Chromium engine, we suspect that it will be an improvement over Google’s Chrome. In the very least, Microsoft appears to be offering a much simpler and more easily understood privacy model; users will be able to choose between three privacy levels — unrestricted, balanced, and strict — all of which will block malicious web trackers, but offer varying levels of ad tracking. Incognito mode will also enforce the “strict” level. This is another feature that the company is still said to be tweaking, however.
Microsoft’s Edge browser has already shown some pretty solid performance improvements and reliability compared to Google Chrome on Windows. It’s still too early to tell if the macOS version will offer similar improvements — Chrome itself has long been criticized for being power-hungry and sometimes sluggish on macOS — but Edge sounds like it might be a more promising option for those who prefer the Chromium engine and want a closer relationship with Microsoft services.
This article was originally posted here