26 Apr It’s Time to Stop Using Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge now leaks the address of every web page you visit straight to Microsoft Bing. This appears to be a bug with one of the many extra features Microsoft has been cramming into Edge over the past few years. We’ve had enough.
Microsoft Edge Is Sloppily Leaking Your Browsing Traffic
As of April 25, 2023, Microsoft Edge is sending the address of nearly every web page you visit to Microsoft’s Bing servers. We’re not getting conspiratorial here—this seems like a bug. We believe it’s a bug.
That’s the problem.
The bug is part of a new feature in Edge that lets you follow “creators.” It’s enabled by default. It seems like the feature was intended to send web page addresses only from certain domains, like YouTube. But it’s not working as designed. Instead, it’s leaking much more of your browsing traffic than intended—nearly everything!
The problem hasn’t been fixed as of the time we published this article—Microsoft is looking into it. Microsoft will probably fix it soon.
The problem is that Microsoft is cramming unnecessary features into Edge so quickly that the company clearly doesn’t have time to bug-check them or ensure they’re working correctly. Privacy and security are critical for browsers.
Sure, you can disable the “Show suggestions to follow creators in Microsoft Edge” feature right now.
But what happens when the next weird feature shows up in Edge, and it’s also enabled by default?
RELATED: Microsoft Edge Has a Data Leak From a Broken Bing Feature
More Edge Junk: Loans, Registry Edits, and MSN Games
Edge has been getting worse for years. In 2021, we wrote that Microsoft was making it hard to recommend Edge. That’s only gotten worse. In 2022, we wrote that Edge was now more bloated than Google Chrome. In 2023, we want to be clear that we can no longer recommend Edge like we did a few years ago. It’s not a clean browser that just gets out of your way anymore.
Here’s a list of some of our other problems with Microsoft Edge, aside from the egregious leaking-all-your-browsing-history problem:
- Edge now offers you loans while you shop online. Call us old-fashioned, but we really don’t like the idea of a web browser offering people loans. Many people recommend caution with “Buy now, pay later” loans.
- Microsoft crammed a huge Bing Chat “Discover” button onto Edge’s toolbar. It works awkwardly—opening the sidebar when you mouse over it rather than clicking. For weeks, Microsoft forced people to edit the Windows Registry to disable it before finally relenting and adding an easy option to turn it off. (Bing Chat is pretty cool, but please don’t force it on us, Microsoft.)
- That annoying Edge sidebar isn’t new and is designed to push other Microsoft web properties. We don’t need a button that opens a web-based version of Solitaire on the MSN website in our browser’s sidebar.
- Edge is also packed with online shopping features. Do you need a coupon? Want to do price comparisons? No thanks, please keep this out of the browser’s interface—can’t this just be a browser extension?
- Microsoft is working on adding a cryptocurrency wallet to Edge. We’re not huge fans of this. Again, why can’t it be an extension for people who want it?
Who knows what Edge will get next. At this point, the big problem isn’t even the features themselves—it’s that Microsoft is adding so many things so quickly that we just don’t feel comfortable trusting Edge anymore.
But the features themselves aren’t that great, as they add a lot of clutter and just get in the way of a clean browser that gets out of your way so you can use the web.
RELATED: Microsoft Edge Is Now More Bloated Than Google Chrome
What Should You Use Instead of Edge?
So if it’s time to stop using Edge, what should you use instead?
Google Chrome is pretty good and is still the most popular browser—it might send data to Google, but presumably, Google isn’t being as sloppy as Microsoft is. More importantly, Google has had a lot more restraint when it comes to cluttering up Chrome’s interface. Here at How-To Geek, Tim Brookes just wrote a compelling argument on why you should stop using Google Chrome. If you’re concerned about privacy issues around Google, it clearly isn’t the best pick. If you just want a clean browser experience and you’re comparing Chrome to Edge, however, we’d go with Chrome.
Mozilla Firefox is still out there, though. A lot of us— myself included—were upset about some of the decisions Firefox made years ago. In 2017, I wrote that Mozilla had lost its way with Firefox after the company forced a cryptically named add-on that looked like malware into users’ browsers as a promotional tie-in with the TV show Mr. Robot.
It’s hard not to see some parallels with Edge here—browser developers cramming in questionable features that users don’t want rather than slowing down and proceeding methodically.
Still, Mozilla Firefox has had a good run since 2017, and we haven’t seen as many red flags from Mozilla. Mozilla seems to have course-corrected. We hope Microsoft does the same thing one day.
If you use a Mac, you might consider Safari—you should seriously consider using Safari on a Mac—but there’s no Safari for Windows anymore.
There are other browsers, of course. For example, Brave Browser has a following, but it’s also full of cryptocurrency-related features you will have to disable if you’re not into that sort of thing. Brave has also had its own scandals—Brave was once caught rewriting affiliate links but relented after criticism.
I’m Saying Goodbye to Edge, Too
This article is actually personal to me. I’m writing this article in Microsoft Edge right now. I’ve been using Microsoft’s browser as my main work browser (I use multiple browsers) for years. Microsoft keeps making Edge worse with user-hostile changes, and I’ve been meaning to stop using it—but this time, the problem is so egregious and clear that I can’t keep going with Edge.
I’ll give Mozilla Firefox a go as my main browser later today.
Goodbye, Edge. You were solid and reliable for a while. But I’ve given you enough second chances.