Microsoft's decision to switch from the in-house rendering engine to Chromium in 2021 brought with it long-awaited performance uplifts while also improving the range of available browser extensions tremendously. That was a massive win for users.
Two years on, the new Edge browser is a disaster. Quite a few users of Windows 10 and Windows 11 prefer to disable updates on every Microsoft product they get their hands on and now, I finally understand why. The default browser of Windows keeps getting new features, and to me, most of these are not just useless, they are actually counterproductive.
- Save time and money with Shopping!
- Let Microsoft Edge help keep your tabs organized!
- Get notifications of related things you can explore with Discover!
- Put inactive tabs to sleep!
- Enable grammar and spellcheck assistance!
- Show mini menu when selecting text!
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. While select few features are indeed welcome and useful - for example, Edge remembers the page where the user stopped reading a PDF document and will load that page automatically the next time the user opens the file - most are not. To me, a browser is a tool that has to be predictable and obedient. What I get instead is a stream of subversive features that quietly get installed in the background without my knowledge or consent, making me feel exposed and angry - like the "Share browsing data with other Windows features" one.
Microsoft's latest excercise in disrespecting users involves adding some kind of a "search the Web right from your desktop" widget that just keeps on re-appearing after a while, despite multiple attempts to close it and disable the feature. Perhaps it's just me and perhaps some people will actually find this bit of functionality useful. Who knows? What I am sure of is the following - Microsoft has to dial it down a notch, otherwise its efforts to make Edge the best and the most widely used browser out there will eventually backfire.