Now that the Edge browser is built on Chromium, you’d think it would be virtually identical to Chrome, but both Google and Microsoft have maintained separate and quite distinct experiences even though their development teams are working closely together. For example, Edge implemented coupon hunting before Chrome added it to its new tab page modules via the Chrome Cart experiment, and it’s already added in vertical tabs while Chrome has shied away from them.
However, the fact that they’re owned by two very different companies with very different philosophies on tech and user data is reason enough for users to pick a side. Because of this, Chrome users who are testing out Windows 11 Insider Preview obviously begin their desktop experience by installing their browser of choice, and it’s not Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer replacement.
At first, the Insider Preview respected a user’s choice to swap to Chrome as the default browser, and it only took a few clicks – one to choose Chrome from the list, and another to tell Edge to get lost after a very direct suggestion to give it a try before switching. Now, Tom Warren of The Verge has discovered that Windows 11 now forces users to go through a slew of file type associations and swap from Edge to Chrome manually.
This means that instead of choosing Chrome once, you’ll have to select it eleven freaking times (HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS). Check out Tom’s tweet below where he painstakingly goes through the process one item at a time for his report.
“We have been increasingly worried about the trend on Windows,
“Since Windows 10, users have had to take additional and unnecessary steps to set and retain their default browser settings. These barriers are confusing at best and seem designed to undermine a user’s choice for a non-Microsoft browser.”Selena Deckelmann, Senior VP of Firefox to The Verge
Obviously, this is deeply concerning, but not unexpected. Microsoft does own Windows, so it can technically do whatever it wants – just like Google has done with Chrome OS. However, Windows 11 isn’t called Edge OS, so the company should probably sort this out before it ships the shiny, new operating system so it doesn’t anger millions of users. Several industry professionals stepped in to give a statement on this decision to make switching default web browsers more difficult in the early test build of Windows, including the Senior VP of Firefox, and Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP at Google, himself.
This from the company that claims to be the most open, with “the most choice.” I hope this is just a developer preview thing, and the shipping version of Windows 11 lives up to their claims. This is far from “choice.”Hiroshi Lockheimer – Senior Vice President, Google – Twitter
Several of Hiroshi’s Twitter followers were quick to point out the fact that Chrome OS doesn’t directly allow a full-fledged version of Edge to be installed, and that swapping default browsers on Android takes several clicks as well. One user specifically targeted his concerns about Microsoft by stating that Google is just worried that Microsoft’s decision would directly affect how many users operate in Chrome as opposed to Edge. So many parties are clearly divided on this as you’ll see when you read the tweet responses, but I want to know your thoughts in the comments below!