Microsoft had a busy 2021. The company released Windows 11. It also added a ton of unnecessary stuff to the Microsoft Edge browser, which is making it harder for us to recommend it to anyone. Seriously, Microsoft is adding so much stuff to its web browser that it’s starting to feel like bloatware.
Edge Will Give You a Loan
This is without question the most bizarre addition to Edge in 2021. If you make a purchase between $35 to $1,000, you can use a buy now, pay later option directly from the browser. Sure, many websites offer this as a way to pay, but having it built into the browser just feels wrong.
Presumably, Microsoft is making a cut from these transactions, so it’s easy to see why the company is offering it. But it seems completely unnecessary from a user perspective.
You Can Track Prices
Honey is a very popular browser extension for tracking prices. Anyone who wants to use it (or any other price tracking method on the web) can easily install it to their browser of choice. Or they just use Edge because Microsoft tracks the items you look at and lets you know if there’s a price drop.
The company describes it as helping to “alleviate some of the stress by helping you keep an eye on products you’ve recently viewed and alert you of price changes,” but it’s probably just a way for the company to collect some affiliate revenue from your browsing habits.
It Has a Bunch of Free MSN Games
If you want to take a trip down memory lane to the days of playing games on MSN, you can totally do that still. But what if Microsoft was the slap a nice big button on your browser that takes you to a bunch of free games? You’d probably wonder why you’d want that.
Well, wonder no longer! Microsoft is currently testing a gaming feature in Edge that’ll quickly link you to a bunch of games you probably don’t want to play. This feature is still in testing, so it may not come to the final version of the browser, but it seems to be on the way.
Edge Will Show You Product Reviews
There’s no shortage of product reviews on the internet. Our sister site Review Geek does a tremendous job reviewing the latest gadgets. There are all sorts of browser extensions and tools within search engines that will let you browse reviews of products if you want to.
Microsoft has decided to build reviews right into Edge, which is useful when shopping—and another seemingly unnecessary piece of bloatware when you aren’t.
Office In the Browser
Microsoft Office is an excellent tool for those who use it. For those who don’t, having it integrated at the browser level is another unnecessary feature to turn off or ignore. When it’s part of Edge’s context menu, it’s almost impossible to avoid it, and it feels like it’s just a way for Microsoft to sell you a Microsoft 365 subscription.
It Even Does Math
Here’s another feature that doesn’t need to be part of the browser. It could easily be an extension or a bookmark you visit. Is it cool that the browser can do math? Sure, but it’s also more stuff added to the browser that only a few people will use.
It’s Not All Bad
Outside of the annoying features that could easily be added to the browser with extensions, Microsoft added some excellent stuff to Edge, too. Edge 93 added tab groups, making browsing the web much more pleasant for tab hoarders. This year, a super-secure mode came out, which is great for the privacy-conscious. There are plenty of good things to say about Edge.
Then there’s the saga of Microsoft doing everything it can to prevent people from switching to other browsers. Between that drama and the fact that Microsoft seems to be turning the browser into a machine designed to generate as much revenue as possible, 2021 wasn’t Edge’s best year.