Microsoft's Edge Browser Is Fast -- Very Fast

Its Performance Blows Away Internet Explorer.

John Lund/Blend Images

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will come with a fancy new Web browser, replacing Internet Explorer (IE): Microsoft Edge. Edge, as I've already explained, has a number of enhancements, including a "writable" interface which you can annotate, called Web Note; a Reading mode for saving articles for later use; and a baked-in version of Cortana, a Siri-like digital assistant.

Now, Microsoft is talking up a new feature -- Edge's speed.

It's been doing a lot of testing of the browser in its labs, and finding out that it's not only way faster than IE, but also faster than its major competitors, Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox. A blog entry by the Edge development team shows huge speed gains of 50 percent to more than 100 percent over IE in certain benchmarks, and 10 percent or more compared to Chrome and Firefox.

Keep in mind that these are for the pre-release version of Edge, and these numbers will change for the final version, which will ship with Windows 10 later this summer (likely July). Still, they show a marked improvement over IE, and that can only be a good thing.

One of the main reasons for the speed increase is better performance of its JavaScript engine. You don't need to understand that beyond knowing that JavaScript is a computer language that undergirds much of the Internet. JavaScript is everywhere, and it can be very finicky.

 

Microsoft's Gaurav Seth blogged about the improvements, and how they'll play out for users of Windows 10: "While winning on a benchmark that is not created by us does feel nice, the key is that Microsoft Edge has already come a long way from IE11 in terms of improved JavaScript performance on both, benchmarks and real world web as it exists today." 

Edge will also be more standards-compliant than IE, meaning that it will work properly on more Web sites, in addition to being much faster.

More people use IE 11 than any other Web browser, according to the latest data, with a quarter of all folks using it. IE 8 is second at 16 percent, with Chrome third at just under 9 percent usage. Although those are healthy numbers for Microsoft, it used to completely dominate the field with IE; if Edge is as good as advertised when it comes out in final form, it may regain some of that dominance.