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Google Warns Edge Users Who Install Extensions From Its Web Store

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Microsoft has started rolling the new Edge browser out to users, leaving the old EdgeHTML engine in the past. The new Edge uses a Chromium base just like Google Chrome, and that means it can run many existing Chrome extensions. Attempting to use Google’s Web Store could be a little unsettling, though. Google has added a warning to Edge users that they should really be using Chrome. 

The original Edge launched with Windows 10, and it never gained traction with users. Microsoft tried repeatedly to get Windows users to launch Edge, often resorting to scare tactics and annoying popups. Well, now the shoe is on the other foot. 

Edge now has the ability to install extensions from third-party sources. Microsoft has its own extension repository, but it’s much smaller than the Chrome Web Store. However, if you go to the Web Store with Edge, you get a small pop-up (see below) that tells you switching to Chrome is the best way to “use extensions securely.”

Google has not explained why this is a security issue, but it might have something with the possibility of malicious code appearing in an extension. In Chrome, extensions are always updated automatically to the latest versions. Google can also remotely nuke an extension that tries to do something inappropriate. It can’t do that with Edge as the Web Store is a third-party download source. 

Google’s vague warning doesn’t explain why Edge is a problem in this scenario.

You can dismiss the warning and continue installing extensions in Edge — Google isn’t stopping you from doing anything. It’s a bit like Microsoft’s scary pop-ups in Windows 10 a while back that said Chrome was worse for your battery. Although, this isn’t a completely new tactic for Google, either. It has occasionally “warned” users of other browsers using its products that Chrome is better at running those services. 

Interestingly, both Opera and Brave use Chromium these days, and there’s no warning for those users when visiting the Google Web Store. Microsoft is simply a much bigger player, having rolled Edge out to most Windows 10 devices. That’s suddenly a lot of people using a non-Google browser to install Chrome extensions that might be a large attack surface. Still, Microsoft doesn’t allow third-party extension installs by default. You’ll have to turn that on first.

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