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I’m happy for you, but no hablo español 🙃 pic.twitter.com/K5pSCiIyMh
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— Chandra Polepeddi (@arcrandom) January 15, 2020
Microsoft's Edge browser, retooled to run on Chromium's open source foundation, has shed its beta designation and entered general release on Wednesday, promising performance, productivity, privacy, and value – a word which here means Microsoft Rewards gift card points for using Bing and access to so-called Premium News.
Of these ostensible benefits, Edge's privacy controls should have the most immediate impact. As Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of Windows, notes in a blog post, Edge "comes with our Privacy Promise and we can’t wait for you to try new features like tracking prevention, which is on by default, and provides three levels of control while you browse."
Language - Randomization - Feature - People - Language
It also comes with a language randomization feature – several people have reported seeing a language other than the expected English upon installation. But evidently this is unintentional.
Microsoft's Privacy Promise sounds suspect because it echoes the same rote words uttered by Facebook and Google after every privacy lapse: "We take your privacy and security seriously." But there's actual substance here: Microsoft Edge, like rival browsers Brave, Firefox, and Safari, blocks third-party cookies by default. Better late than never.
Years - Google - Tuesday - Support - Cookies
This may not matter two years hence: Google on Tuesday said it plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in 2022. By the time that happens, the search ads biz hopes to have built alternative tracking mechanisms into its Chrome browser. It's not yet clear whether those will be blockable.
But for now, Edge's cookie fast represents a positive step for privacy. The reborn browser also includes a private browsing mode called InPrivate, and malicious website protection, in the form of Microsoft Defender SmartScreen. But those are table stakes for browsers these days.
Edge - Prevention - Offers - Levels - Basic
Edge's tracking prevention offers three levels: Basic, Balanced, and Strict. The default and recommended setting, Balanced, blocks trackers...
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"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift