You know that annoying prompt to install Chrome that shows up whenever you access a Google service with a non-Chrome browser? Well, Microsoft decided that was a great idea.
The company’s actually not terrible Edge browser will now show a pop-up prompting users to keep using Edge when they try to download Google Chrome. Neowin originally spotted the pop-ups and The Verge was able to confirm them. They definitely show up on Windows 11 and some reports indicate the prompts appear on Windows 10 too. I haven’t been able to trigger one yet on my Windows 11 PC and it isn’t clear if Edge will show the pop-up for other browsers.
Now, there are a few main differences between the Google and Edge prompts. For one, Google’s prompt is rendered as part of Google’s websites like Search and Gmail, while the Edge prompt appears to be part of the browser UI.
However, both prompts look very similar.
Another major difference is that Google’s prompt has an option to dismiss it, while Edge only shows one button to continue using Edge. I’d say this gives some points to Google, but only barely — the Google prompt perpetually ignores that I’ve declined the offer to use Chrome.
The final difference is that Edge seems to cycle through various prompts, all of which smack of that classic corporation-trying-to-be-witty-and-failing vibe. Here are some of the variations spotted so far:
- “Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft.”
- “‘I hate saving money,’ said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping.”
“That browser is so 2008! Do you know what’s new? Microsoft Edge.”
These new prompts are Microsoft’s latest effort to get people to use its Edge browser. They build on other behaviours, such as messing with Windows’ default browser settings (and making it harder to change those settings in Windows 11), putting prompts in Bing search, warnings in Windows’ settings that Edge is safer than other options and more.
What’s particularly frustrating about this is the new Chromium-based Edge is actually a pretty good browser and, in many ways, I prefer it over alternatives. It’s certainly not a perfect browser, but Edge offers excellent performance on Windows machines and unique features that set it apart from competitors. Maybe if Microsoft marketed Edge on those merits rather than using scummy and annoying tactics, more people would be willing to give it a shot.