QUESTION: I’ve been using Google Chrome as my default browser for years, but how does Microsoft’s Edge compare?
ANSWER: For the majority of us, the browser is the most used program on our computers — the average is 7 hours a day — so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Globally, Chrome is by far the most used browser with just over 65% market share. The second closest browser is Apple’s Safari with just over 19%, followed by Microsoft Edge with just over 4%.
In the US it’s a bit closer with Chrome at just under 51%, Safari at just over 34% and Edge at just over 6%.
When Edge was first introduced in 2015, it was slow, lacked many features, and had a variety of compatibility issues.
Microsoft abandoned attempts to provide its own browser technology when it switched to using Chromium code to rebuild the Edge browser in 2020.
The benefit of using the more popular browser is that there are more options for add-ons and plug-ins that can extend functionality.
The good news when it comes to comparing Chrome to Edge in the extensions category is that since they are both built on the same code, everything in the Chrome Online Store is also available for Edge users.
The first time you visit the Chrome Web Store using Edge, a blue banner will appear at the top with an “Allow extensions from other stores” option you’ll want to click, followed by the Allow button.
Microsoft also has its own add-ons website.
Speed and memory
Both of these browsers do well in the speed category, but most test sites showed Edge to be faster than Chrome.
If you tend to open a lot of tabs, Edge has shown to use less memory per tab than Chrome in all the tests I’ve seen, so that can be a big plus. When you’re low on working memory, things can get sluggish.
The default search engine for each browser is unsurprisingly Google for Chrome and Bing for Edge, but you can easily change your default search engine in both browsers, so that’s no reason to avoid Edge.
Device usability and synchronization
Both browsers will work on just about any device you own, including smartphones, but Edge is not available for Chrome OS. If you have a Chromebook and want to be able to sync your bookmarks, history, etc. on all your devices, Chrome would be your best bet.
A feature unique to the Edge browser is the ability to stack your tabs on the left side of the browser instead of just at the top. To enable vertical tabs, click the “Tab Actions Menu” icon in the upper left corner of the Edge browser just before the first tab. This approach to showing what web pages you have open is quite attractive and a bit easier to navigate for me.
Chrome Data Import
There’s no harm in trying Edge but it’ll probably be a better test if you import your browser data and Chrome extensions first.