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Google tries to scare Edge users away from installing Chrome extensions

Microsoft has been promoting its Edge browser as a faster and more modern version of the much-hated Internet Explorer, as it is based on the same Chromium architecture as Google Chrome. That also means that it supports Chrome extensions. However, Google is trying to warn Edge users away from the extensions in its Chrome Web Store.

First spotted by Windows Latest, Edge users see a banner at the top of the page when they view an extension in the Chrome Web Store. “Google recommends switching to Chrome to use extensions securely,” it reads, followed by a link to download the Google Chrome browser.

The banner doesn’t stop Edge users from downloading the extensions, and extensions will continue to work fine on Edge. But it’s clear that Google is trying to put users off using Edge and tempt them over to using its Chrome browser instead.

Google has used similar tactics in the past. It has displayed warnings on sites like Google Docs, Gmail, and YouTube Music when visitors access the sites using the Microsoft Edge browser. As both browsers use the same underlying technology, it appears that Google is engaged in scare tactics more than genuine concern about the security of particular extensions or sites when accessed using Edge.

On the other hand, there are legitimate concerns about the security of Edge extensions. According to hacker and infosec researcher Nikhil Mittal, at the end of last year, a major security flaw was discovered in Microsoft Edge extensions. Because of the way the extensions were implemented, they could access far more data than they should have been able to. An extension that was supposed to only access data from, for example, was able to access data from Google, Facebook, and other sites as well. The extensions were even able to read local system files in some cases.

With a massive 64% market share, Google Chrome dominates browser use. Edge has around 5% market share or less, making it a small threat to Google. But Microsoft has been pushing Edge as aggressively as Google has been pushing Chrome, by bundling the browser in its Windows operating system and making it the default. And Microsoft has engaged in the same sort of scare-mongering as well. In the past, the company has displayed a warning when users try to install Chrome or Firefox, saying that Edge is safer and faster than other options.

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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