During my week-long experiment where I migrated my life and workflow into Windows 10 and the Edge browser in order to see how a Chromebook user could make the most of Microsoft’s operating system if they had, I encountered a pretty sweet feature that I hadn’t expected to. Edge was sporting something called ‘Shopping’, which would scour the web on your behalf for discounts that you could apply to your shopping cart on virtually any website at checkout. The best part is that this was all taken care of at the browser level with no help needed from third-party Chrome extensions like Honey.
Heading back to my Chromebook, I couldn’t help but think about how much I wish Chrome would adopt the feature. Being that both it and Edge are built on Chromium, I figured it was probably just a matter of time before it appeared in some form – especially since the two development teams have been working closely together for the benefit of users.
Yesterday, I was shopping for a gift for a loved one on Etsy, and at checkout on Chrome OS 92, I was presented with an interesting icon in my browser’s Omnibox. If you take a glance at the image below, you’ll notice that it resembles that of an ‘offers’ tag. This icon has universally become known for deals and discounts. Not only is it being used in Edge for the same thing, but it’s also the emblem in the Best Buy logo for that very same reason.
Awesome! So it seems we can look forward to the very same feature in Chrome. Because Google likes to do things a bit differently, I believe it’s taking its time to roll out Offers so that it can implement it in its own way. For example, you’ll notice that it’s tied directly to Google Pay and that clicking the tag icon automatically pulls up your saved primary credit or debit card for use.
Microsoft’s Shopping feature can also display a notification that says “we found a lower price”. This is called ‘Price comparison’, and it helps you save by searching the web for better deals on the things you’re shopping for. If it finds a better price, it lets you know. In its early stages, I haven’t yet noticed Chrome Offers doing this. However, because Google Shopping has a new price comparison feature, and because Google has been eagerly adding Shopping features into the browser over the past few months, I can see it being implemented here before release.
I’m all for supporting extension creators when they respect a user’s privacy and create something incredibly beneficial to the browsing experience. Honey is still a fantastic tool, but when I begin to see features like this integrated directly into the browser, it does two things. First, it means less memory is being taken up on a user’s device – extensions can add up! Second, it allows Google to bring these types of features over to Android. It’s previously stated that it would be too much work to port extensions to Android and to make them all work properly. Adding to that, we’ve recently seen price tracking added to Android’s Chrome browser tabs, so the path forward is clearly to natively unify these ecosystems.