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Microsoft is helping Google improve Chrome’s tab management

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A good example of two rivals working to improve web browsers

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Microsoft launched its new Edge Chromium-powered browser earlier this month on both macOS and Windows. The launch marked just over a year after the company announce its plans to work more closely with the Chromium project and Google engineers. The Verge got an exclusive look at Microsoft’s surprise decision to work with Google last year, and now we’re starting to see just how closely Microsoft and Google are collaborating with the introduction of Edge’s multi-tab management feature in Chromium.

“If you’re still interested in upstreaming this from Edge, we’d be happy to take it,” reads a note from Google software engineer Leonard Grey in a recent Chromium Gerrit source code management thread. “Sounds great! I’ll take ownership of this issue then,” responds Justin Gallagher, a software engineer at Microsoft. Spotted by a Reddit poster, the discussion is around being able to move multiple tabs to another window. It’s a feature that already exists in Edge, and now Microsoft is helping bring it directly to Chromium and Chrome.

Just two weeks after that exchange, Microsoft committed code to make the change in Chromium, adding support for moving multiple tabs to a new window from the tab context menu. It’s the first clear user-facing change that we’ve seen Microsoft make to Chromium, and the company has made more than 1,000 commits over the previous year.

We’re waiting to see the change appear in daily Canary builds of Chrome, but Microsoft is also committing changes to the Chromium project to improve accessibility, performance, and compatibility for both Edge and Chrome.