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New Edge Browser Getting Extensions and Security Baseline Support

Microsoft is gearing up its Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser for its commercial product launch next month.

The new Edge browser, based on Chromium Projects technologies largely fostered by Google, is expected to reach the "general availability" commercial product release stage on Jan. 15, 2020. Currently, the browser is available at the beta channel preview test stage, featuring its new claw-like logo. It can be accessed at this download page, which also includes a link to administrative templates for IT pros.

Extension Migrations
In a Monday announcement, Microsoft prodded its EdgeHTML-based extension partners to move their solutions over to its new publishing portal for the new Chromium-based browser. Most of these extensions "will work without any modifications," the announcement suggested. If migrated, extensions will be available with a browser upgrade in January and "customers will not face any interruptions."

These migrated extensions will be available in the new Chromium-based browser on Jan. 15, per the announcement:

We will migrate users' extensions from the current version of Microsoft Edge when they update to the new Microsoft Edge (starting January 15th). Extensions will only be migrated for users if they are already available on the Microsoft Edge Addons store at the time of switching to the new browser.

Microsoft is planning to no longer accept newly created EdgeHTML-based browser extension submissions after Dec. 17, 2019. However, updates for existing extensions will still be accepted. 

Security Baselines for Edge
In other Edge news, Microsoft last week announced a draft of its recommended security baseline configurations for the Chromium-based Edge browser version 79. Nothing's changed since version 78, except for a few nomenclature changes.

Microsoft's aim with security settings is to only enforce defaults if users or IT pros could trigger an insecure state, per this explanation. Microsoft's example is the User Account Control security feature that prompts end users about new software installations. Administrators "are known to disable" User Account Control. Consequently, Microsoft enforces its use as a default setting because it's deemed necessary for security.

Microsoft recommends just 12 Group Policy settings as part of its baseline security advice for the Chromium-based Edge browser, according to the announcement. IT pros also have access to "217 enforceable Computer Configuration policy settings," if wanted.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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