Microsoft’s future Edge browser will be based on the Chromium engine, and just as expected, it will support all Google Chrome extensions.
This information has recently been confirmed by a Microsoft engineer in a reddit discussion over the new browser coming as a preview in early 2019.
“It's our intention to support existing Chrome extensions,” Kyle Alden, Edge Project Manager, explained.
The lack of extensions in Microsoft Edge was one of the biggest drawbacks in the existing version of the browser. Microsoft worked together with developers to resolve this problem, and while the essentials extensions arrived in the Microsoft Store, users still aren’t provided with the same wide variety of downloads as on Google Chrome.
What is not yet clear is how extensions will be offered to Microsoft Edge users once the switch to the Chromium engine takes place.
Alden says PWA support will also be offered and these apps will be offered both in the Microsoft Store and directly through other channels. This could happen in the case of extensions as well, though no confirmation was offered in this regard.
“We expect to provide support for PWAs to be installed directly from the browser (much like with Chrome) in addition to the current Store approach. We're not ready to go into all the details yet but PWAs behaving like native apps is still an important principle for us so we'll be looking into the right system integrations to get that right,” he said.
At the same time, the Microsoft Edge Project Manager also confirmed that the existing UWP apps which rely on the current EdgeHTML engine wouldn’t go away. They would continue to work as they do right now and remain available in the Microsoft Store.
“We don't plan to shim under those with a different engine. We do expect to offer a new WebView that apps can choose to use based on the new rendering engine,” he said.
An early version of the new Microsoft Edge browser is expected in the first months of 2019. An ETA as to when the final browser could be ready isn’t available just yet.