MS: New Edge Rebuild to Support Chrome Extensions

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has confirmed Edge will now use the same code as Chrome. It's also said it plans to support Chrome extensions on Edge.

The news bears out previous reports, though notably it appears Microsoft will stick with the Edge name for the revamped browser. That may be because it put so much effort into branding Edge as the replacement of Internet Explorer.

It's all to do with rendering engines, the part of a web browser that actually turns the code of a web page into what the users sees on screen. Microsoft is ditching its own EdgeHTML and adopting "Chromium," an open source engine developed by Google and used in browsers including Chrome.

Web Developers Pushed For Change

In a blog post, Microsoft confirmed the reasons for the switch, saying: "we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers." (Source:

It was already good news for web developers who expressed frustration at having to write extra code for web pages to make sure they look and work right on Edge, which is only used by a small percentage of PC owners.

Extensions To Get Support

However, some would-be Edge users have said they are put off switching away from Chrome because they rely on extensions. These are third party tools that interact with Chrome to add extra functionality such as password managers, or tools to automatically send the text of a long web article to a Kindle e-Reader.

In a separate post on a discussion forum, Edge project manager Kyle Alden said "It's our intention to support existing Chrome extensions." Tech experts say that the word "intention" shouldn't be a red flag as, once Edge switches to Chromium, there's no significant technical barrier to supporting the extensions. (Source:

In theory the move could mean Edge offers the best of both worlds, combining its advantages (which Microsoft says will include the browser running faster) with the convenience and popularity of key Chrome features such as extensions. In practice, it may be too late for people who've already settled on Chrome to be prepared to test that theory.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use browser extensions (also called add-ons in some browsers)? How important are they to your online experience? If you use Chrome, would support for Chrome extensions persuade you to try Edge instead?

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Stuart Berg's picture

These are the Chrome extensions I actively use:

Capital One Breach Protection by Eno (virtual credit card account numbers)
Chrome Registry Jumper
Fair AdBlocker
Google Translate
History Button
Kaspersky Protection
Logitech Smooth Scrolling
New Tab Redirect
Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder
Open in Firefox
RoboForm Password Manager
Tab Activate

Of all of the above, I would have to pick "Chrome Registry Jumper" as the one I would most miss if I did not have it.

If I could have all of the above extensions in Edge, I would certainly give Edge a try.