Microsoft Edge gets a Beta channel as launch looms closer

Software giant Microsoft has practically admitted that, after decades, it can no longer really compete in the browser market on its own. Ironically, adopting a Google Chrome base may have, in fact, renewed interest and trust in the Microsoft Edge name. At least enough to gain 1 million downloads of the preview version alone. Microsoft is probably hoping that the final launch will be just as warmly received but, in the meantime, it's launching a new beta version and beta channel fans can use to get the latest but somewhat stable features.

Beta is Edge's third and final channel before the web browser goes gold. Mirroring Chrome's own development path, Microsoft Edge has a Canary channel for the super bleeding edge new features and changes and the Dev or Development channel for more rounds of testing. The Beta channel, in comparison, is for those who want to be a bit ahead of the general populace without risking too much the stability of their browser.

Given that nature, Microsoft is basically saying that Edge is now ready for everyday use, save for a bug or two or twelve. On top of the Chromium base, Microsoft has built its own addons and features, including personalization options and a tracking prevention guard. The latter is enabled by flipping the switch on a flag but, hopefully, the final version will make it easier to turn on or off.

Microsoft is also trying to sell, not literally of course, Edge to businesses with features like built-in Search with Bing for crawling not just the Internet but also internal documents and conversations. Amusingly, there's also an Internet Explorer mode for organizations that really need compatibility with the Web's oldest dinosaur.

As something closer to a final version, the Beta channel moves more slowly than the other two and users can expect a new release every six weeks. That is, as soon as Microsoft gets its development rhythm down. Along with the new channel comes the extension of the company's bug bounty program which can reward hunters as much as $30,000 for high-impact vulnerabilities.