Around 2019, Microsoft will give the garage the engine of its browser Internet Edge, to graft Chromium, the mechanics of its competitor browser Google Chrome. Many pieces of Chromium have been created by Google engineers, who keep a strong influence on the future of this engine. He already equips several browsers competing with Google, like Opera. But Chromium is not entirely the property of Google, since it contains some borrowed parts, and that anyone is free to use it, thanks to its free BSD license.
For Edge users, switching to Chromium will be almost invisible: the interface and menus of the Microsoft browser will only be changed at the margin. However, they can enrich its features with extensions designed for Google Chrome. Compatibility with thousands of Chrome extensions is part of Microsoft's development goals, according to Kyle Adams, a house engineer.
A rendering of the most faithful pages
Chromium should especially improve the display of websites. “In the end, we want to optimize the Internet experience for many different audiences,” said Joe Belfiore, vice president of the Microsoft group, responsible for operating systems, in an article posted on the Microsoft site on December 6. This hope does not seem unreasonable in the medium term, because the choice of Microsoft will facilitate the work of designers of sites and Internet applications.
Today, there are several competing Internet engines, and each has particularities that prevent it from displaying Web pages exactly like the others, unless resorting to laborious design tricks. By adopting the same engine as Google Chrome, Edge joins a solid standard, since Chrome is used by the majority of Internet users in the world. Microsoft is determined to accelerate the transition to the new version of Chromium-powered Edge, making this browser compatible with older versions of Windows (the Windows 7 operating systems, released in 2009, and Windows 8, released in 2012). , may benefit from it).
The Chromium engine, however, will not reign supreme in the browser landscape. Edge, the Microsoft browser, has not yet completely supplanted its many ancestors, which are called Internet Explorer, and we still cross a minority of computers in their versions 9, 10 and 11. The designers of the most conscientious websites will continue to take into account the specificities of these old browsers. Two other heavyweights of navigation also remain: if Apple's Safari has a motor quite close to Chromium, Firefox has its own mechanics.
A threat to the diversity of offers?
The move from Microsoft to Chromium also strongly reacts Mozilla, the foundation behind Firefox. Its CEO Chris Beard fears the standardization of Internet engines. He states in a post posted on his website:
“We're not going to accept that the mechanics designed by Google for the Internet become the only choice available to consumers. That's precisely why we decided to build Firefox initially. We will continue to fight for a truly open Internet. (…) Making Google more powerful presents many risks. (…) To give the control of the basic Internet infrastructure to a single company is appalling, from a social and civic point of view, as well as in terms of the autonomy of individuals. “
In general, the choice of the software giant made a big splash in the Internet developer community. Historically, competition has produced a healthy emulation, which has made progress for Internet browsers, in terms of ergonomics and speed of display. In the long run, the effects of switching from Microsoft to Chromium could be negative.
To support the Microsoft decision, Joe Belfiore emphasized other qualities of the Chromium engine, which better preserves the battery of nomadic devices, and works on all kinds of tablets and smartphones.
In addition, a large community of free developers is working to expand the Chromium engine. The success of the Chrome browser is probably for many. Google's software has grown dramatically and has continued since its inception ten years ago. At the same time, formerly dominant Microsoft browsers have had a long fall that Microsoft has never been able to stem.