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Google sneakily suggests new Microsoft Edge extensions are less secure than Chrome

Edge
Edge (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Google recommends people switch to Google Chrome when they view the Chrome web store through Microsoft Edge.
  • The warning says that people should switch to Chrome to "use extensions securely."
  • Microsoft and Google both recommend switching to their own browsers in various ways.

Google continued the recommendation rivalry between Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge with a new warning. Now, when people browse the Chrome web store through the new Microsoft Edge browser, they'll see a recommendation that reads, "Google recommends switching to Chrome to use extensions securely." The move is the latest back and forth between Microsoft and Google finding different ways to recommend their own browsers.

The new Microsoft Edge is powered by Chromium, meaning it can run extensions designed for Google Chrome. These extensions seem to run without issue, and that might be a concern for Google. Because Microsoft Edge has access to thousands of extensions, it is a more viable browser for people. Being powered by Chromium also means that in most cases, the new Microsoft Edge is equally compatible with websites when compared to Google Chrome.

Windows Latest first spotted the recommendation alert. It also pointed out that Google uses 'user agent string' to tell when people view the Chrome web store through the new Microsoft Edge. If you change the user-agent within the new Microsoft Edge, the warning goes away. Windows Latest also highlights that the same warning does not appear within other browsers powered by Chromium, such as Opera and Brave.

The warning doesn't stop anyone from using Chrome extensions in Microsoft Edge. I'm using several Chrome extensions in the new Microsoft Edge to write this very article. But people might think something is wrong with using Chrome extensions in the new Edge because of this warning.

Google used similar tactics in the past, including blocking or warning people about using certain Google services in the new Microsoft Edge. Google claimed that these warnings and blocks occurred because the new Microsoft Edge was in beta testing, but many people were skeptical of that explanation.

There are two sides to most fights, and Microsoft also recommends its browser frequently. If you search for Google Chrome in Bing, the search engine will tell you about how Edge is better in several ways. There are several other ways that Microsoft recommends Edge as well.

It seems likely that Google and Microsoft will continue to recommend people use their respective browsers and warn people about users competing browsers.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

27 Comments
  • Well then I guess I'll have to trust Google Chrome over Edge then. Oh my nose its growing...
  • Google, now you are truly getting Pathetic!
  • Microsoft is now an employee of goofle
  • This is not a very lucid analysis, especially regarding browsers. Microsoft are even in a position to influence the development of Chromium with their development force, which benefits every user of Chrome too.
  • Google still Muppets. Instead or working together they still seek something that isn't there.
  • Switched to Edge months ago and will never look back - it really is an awesome browser. Microsoft finally got it right. I even stopped using my Fitbit once I heard Google was getting a hold of that data. Honestly, I can't stand Google and their reputation is just getting worse. I will always be looking for an alternative product when I can and am extremely conscious of giving them the minimum of that data they so desperately want.
  • Microsoft got it right, or Google got it right? Edge is basically just a Chrome skin.
  • With all the nasty Google phone home stuff stripped out. Also, it is about to get much faster.
  • Just because edge looks similar doesn't mean it is. There's a lot of differences that's not consumer facing.
  • The engine is the same, the parts that look similar are that way because Microsoft just didn't change them much or at all. You can argue all your want, but at the end of the day, Edge is now just Chromium with a skin the same way Chrome is Chromium with a skin.
  • Maybe a Chromium not Chrome.
  • No I meant what I said - Microsoft got it right. Edge is everything I liked about Chrome but sanitized of the Google vomit.
  • Edge! Edge! Edge! All i want is Microsoft Edge 🎶🎶🎶
  • I will continue to use the New Edge. Explaining why its less secure might go over many people's heads, but I'd appreciate the explanation, assuming there is a legitimate one.
  • There is no legit reason. This is purely Google attempting to scare people. None of the other browsers based on Chromium are receiving this message
  • There is a reason. Browsers are still identified through their user agent string. The user agent string for new Edge and old Edge is probably the same. Google is actually looking to fix this issue. https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-to-phase-out-user-agent-strings-in-...
  • Microsoft is using different user agents for the different versions of Edge. The old version of Edge is using the user agent Edge and the new Chromium version of Edge is using the user agent Edg (they dropped the e on the end). https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/web-platform/user-agent-...
  • MS did exactly the same thing with first Edge.
  • A bit disingenuous on the part of Google.
  • Chromium Edge (we HAVE to get a better name for it) uses the same "edg" user agent string that Classic Edge does to maintain "backwards compatibility" with Classic Edge functions that it supports.
    That is why it gets flagged by Chrome store, not some nefarious Machiavellian plot by Google.
  • Classic Edge can't use Chrome extensions at all though, so why would Google care in the first place?
  • Microsoft is not using the exact same user agent in the different versions. In the new Chromium version of Edge they are using the user agent "Edg" but in the old version of Edge they are using the user agent "Edge". So Google should be using code to do an exact match of user agents and not just look at the first three letters based on your reason. Since you can't install Chrome extension on the old version of Edge to start with it is obvious that Google is intentionally checking for the new Chromium version of Edge and displaying the message since they are not doing it with any other Chromium based browsers.
  • So with built-in tracking protection, which happens to block a lot of ads, and with ads often being a malware vector, Edge is less secure? OK, Google
  • It's amazing to see how many people just don't understand the technology behind this and get completely suckered in by an article meant to exploit that fact.
  • What are you trying to say? What part of the technology people don't understand? What exploitation does this article do?
  • Not sure what you're saying, that the article is right and Google is wrong for doing this or that the article is wrong and Google are right to do this!!?!
  • I can confirm that this only shows up when using Edge, Opera doesn't show it and, I suspect, no other Chromium based browser will either.