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Windows 10 Begins Showing Ads for Edge When You Search for Other Browsers

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Microsoft is full-speed ahead with the new Chromium-based Edge browser, having recently started a wide rollout via Windows Update. Now Microsoft has a familiar problem. With the new Edge on everyone’s PCs, how can the company get them to use it? The new Edge seems to be borrowing a page from the old Edge’s playbook. Microsoft is promoting Edge in the Windows 10 UI when you try to use another browser. 

The version of Edge that shipped with Windows 10 was built from Microsoft technology with the EdgeHTML engine. It offered better browsing battery life compared with Chrome on Windows machines, but Microsoft couldn’t convince people to forget Chrome’s speed and compatibility. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em, right? Microsoft started working on a Chromium-based version of Edge in late 2018, launching the first stable versions in early 2020. The new Edge has many of the same features as Chrome because it uses the same code base. However, Microsoft has tweaked the styling to match the Windows aesthetic better, and it features Microsoft services in place of Google’s. 

Microsoft just started the large-scale rollout for the new Edge — almost all Windows 10 users who don’t already have the browser will see it appear in Windows Update soon. When it’s installed, the Windows search interface will start behaving a bit differently. Microsoft has inserted what is essentially an ad into the search results. 

The Edge recommendation appears when searching for other browsers in Windows 10.

If you search for another browser like Chrome or Firefox, a “recommended” result for Microsoft Edge will appear right below it. This result continues appearing even after you’ve given in and launched Edge instead of another browser. This is not unlike some of the tactics Microsoft used to promote the old Edge in Windows 10. On several occasions, Microsoft used pop-ups that promoted Edge’s battery life, and in some instances, it even warned users not to install third-party browsers because Edge was “safer and faster.” These campaigns were ineffective and may have only hastened Edge’s death. 

We can only hope Microsoft’s promotions for the new Edge aren’t as heavy-handed. You’re going to have to live with the Edge recommendation in search for now. Some users claim you can edit the registry to remove the ad, but we haven’t been able to confirm this.

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