For many people, Microsoft Edge is the software you use to download Google Chrome. You need a browser to access the Chrome website, and Edge is the only option on a brand-new or freshly reset Windows PC. But while Microsoft once let people go without a fuss, it’s grown increasingly resistant to abandonment. The latest act of desperation: Now when you grab the installation file for Chrome, a survey opens in Edge to ask why you’re leaving.
Initially spotted by Neowin, Microsoft’s plea to know what went wrong doesn’t replace other plugs for Edge. Instead, it becomes yet another one inserted into the process of getting Chrome. This survey appears literally when you click the download link for Chrome—the Activity Center sidebar pops up on the right side of the window with a profession of love and a request to select one of eight reasons for the departure.
Depending on if Bing is the default search engine, these questions are the second or even third time Edge will insert itself into your business. Bing displays a banner downplaying other browsers if you search for Chrome, and once you load the Chrome website, a small overlay springs up to boast of Edge’s superiority. (On Windows 10, you get bonus hilarity in the form of extra erroneous text, which says that setting Microsoft Edge as your default browser is only a valid offer for one person per account within 14 days of joining. No, it doesn’t make any sense.)
Chrome is the only rival browser that triggers this behavior in Microsoft Edge.
While Microsoft’s increased neediness is a questionable strategy, its claims about Edge’s strengths aren’t entirely unfounded. For example, Edge and Chrome are both based on the same code: Chromium, Google’s open-source project that also powers browsers like Vivaldi, Brave, and Opera. Edge also puts its own spin on Chromium, with some standout features not available in Chrome, like vertical tabs and a traditional reader mode. But the sword cuts both ways, and Chrome has one important thing Edge doesn’t—integration with the Google ecosystem. To access bookmarks, passwords, and other data in your Google account, Chrome is the best place to be.
If this is what you tell the survey—Edge lacks passwords and bookmarks saved elsewhere—you’re finally left in peace afterward. But the Activity Center sidebar still remains open. You’ll have to hide it yourself if you need the screen real estate back. Perhaps Microsoft knows the whole app is getting closed as soon as the download’s over.