People love to mock Google Chrome for being a bloated browser that consumes your computer’s resources. Well, Microsoft Edge just got even worse. It started with good intentions, but Microsoft can’t help it.
I really wanted to like Microsoft Edge. I’ve moved on to using it on my desktop PC and Android phone, even recommending it to others. However, over time this has become more difficult to justify. The dream of a Chrome-like browser without all the Google bloat seems dead.
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Microsoft Edge didn’t start out bloated. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I decided to give it a try. I thought it might be a lite version of Chrome with a lot of the same features, but just less.
For a while it seemed like it was, but it didn’t take long for the feature slippage to start happening. “Feature creep” is when new features are constantly being added to a product, to the detriment of that product. This is unfortunately a common thing in modern browsers, apps and other types of software.
Instagram is one of the most well-known examples of feature creep. It was a very simple app to post photos. Just pictures. Now it’s a bloated amalgamation of old Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook.
The weird thing about Edge’s feature creep is that it wasn’t really about stealing features from other browsers. Microsoft has added a lot of just unnecessary stuff.
2021 was the year Microsoft really started integrating features into Edge. This continued, albeit a bit more slowly, into 2022. Let’s take a look at some of the more egregious additions.
Edge has the ability to grant loans. If you make a purchase between $35 and $1,000, an option to “buy now, pay later” will appear in the browser. Microsoft has partnered with Zipper for this feature, and it’s likely taking a cut in deals.
Do you remember playing games on MSN? Well you can play these games in Edge. A small icon appears in the toolbar (if you activate it) that opens a sidebar with games like Solitaire, Bubble, Sudoku, etc. Actual games are played on a web page, not in the browser.
Reviews are a great way to learn more about a product before buying it. There are plenty of great places to go for these reviews, but Microsoft wants you to see them in Edge. When you checkout at some online retailers, you may see a pop-up window with coupons and reviews. A potentially useful idea, but probably not what you expect from your browser.
One of the more recent additions is a visual search feature. Whenever you hover your mouse over an image on a website, you’ll see a small icon to perform a Bing visual search. Essentially, it searches the web for similar images. This was enabled by default in Edge 95.
While some of the features Microsoft added are more useful than others…like price tracking—that’s a bit much for a browser. None of these features are actually intended for web browsing.
Edge isn’t all bad
To conclude, I must mention that Edge has some good ideas. It’s generally a good browser and a viable competitor to Chrome. Even so, I still use it on my PC, Android phone, and iPhone, although it might not last much longer.
Edge is more than chrome with Microsoft’s name slapped on it. The company added more than a few unique features. It can automatically clear your history when you close the browser, you can move tabs to a sidebar, there’s a Kids Mode, and more.
What do these characteristics all have in common? They improve web browsing and browser experience. Features like this are much more welcome than games and coupons. Ultimately, the browser’s job is to make using the Internet as easy as possible. Every little prompt and pop-up gets in the way.
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