Microsoft Shows How Easily Chrome Extensions Can Be Added to Edge

Last month, Microsoft revealed that they had been working on the ability for their struggling Edge web browser to support the vast array of extensions that are available for Google’s Chrome. At an Edge developer summit earlier this week, Microsoft showed off just how far this technology had come already, with many popular Chrome add-ons being able to be made Edge-compatible with a simple change to one or two lines of code.

Edge’s support for extensions is already implemented, at least in the beta versions of the software that have been made available to Microsoft Insiders. Currently, Microsoft has around eight add-ons available for their browser, including the popular ad blockers, AdBlock and AdBlock Plus, which may be the ad blocking that Microsoft plans to implement in Edge. Currently, all Edge extensions must be manually side-loaded into the browser, but will be available through the Windows Store when fully released.

According to Rory Fairweather, a program manager working on Edge, extensions have been the most requested feature for Edge since its release alongside Windows 10, especially as they are a popular feature that many other browsers have had for many years. The amazing thing about Edge’s extensions is just how easy it is to port existing Chrome extensions to Edge instead of having to develop a version especially for Microsoft’s browser. Developers will be able to employ a tool from Microsoft to convert their extension, or, like Fairweather, change a couple of lines of code. This is possible due to Edge having equivalent addon APIs to its rival browsers, but will also have potentially powerful APIs that are exclusive to it including icon changing, cross-component messaging and networking.

Whether this will bolster Edge’s market share and pull lost users back to Microsoft’s browsers is hard to tell as many still see Edge as just the same as the often infamous Internet Explorer. At the very least, it is impressive to see how far Microsoft have gone to make it easy for extension developers to develop for their browser alongside others, as well as encourage the developers of existing apps to support Edge as well through an easy conversion process.

Microsoft’s Edge Browser to Feature Ad Blocking

Microsoft is actively trying to make Edge a better browser with each update, and it looks like the next major improvement for this admittedly quick browser concerns ad blockers. During a recent presentation of Build 2016, a certain slide showed that Microsoft plans to “build ad blocking features into the browser,” which suggests that Edge might support ad blocking features natively without the need for extensions. This is definitely encouraging news for those of you who use ad-blockers regularly, as Edge’s extension support is new and rather unpolished right now. Another interesting addition to the browser could be a modern extension/plug-in model” complemented by a store, which should also be implemented into the next version.

Unlike Google’s Chrome browser, which doesn’t offer ad-blocking capabilities on its own for obvious reasons, other similar programs such as Safari and Opera already block ads without any help from extensions. For the user, blocking ads could provide a faster and potentially safer browsing experience, but it’s worth keeping in mind that publishers stand to lose quite a bit as a result, which is why many of them are actively expressing their disappointment. Not too long ago, several websites in France have taken a public stand against ad blockers, with some websites even refusing to grant access to users unless they whitelist their publications.

Microsoft to Offer Tool for Porting Chrome Extensions to Edge

With the release of their new operating system, Windows 10, Microsoft has been keen on getting users to use their new software. Not just their operating system is new, though, with Edge replacing the demonised Internet explorer. One thing that has kept users from accepting and using the new browser is its lack of extensions, something that is set to change this year thanks to a tool Microsoft is currently working on.

It’s been clear for a while that rather than open another market for extension developers to create their tools in, Microsoft would look to bring Chrome’s extensions to Edge. In a tweet from Jacob Rossi, an engineer working on Edge, the picture becomes a little clearer on how they want to do this.

So it would appear that they are working on a tool that will enable you to port your favourite Chrome extensions over to the Edge browser. While a further response showed that they would still be working on creating a list of extensions directly for Edge.

Would you be willing to swap out your current browser for Edge? Are you an Edge user and if so how much would extensions change your everyday experience with the browser? Give us your thoughts below

Microsoft Wants to Make Edge Support Chrome Extensions

Microsoft’s Edge browser is definitely an improvement when compared to the old Internet Explorer, but it still not as popular in the average user’s eye as Chrome and Firefox, mainly because it doesn’t support as many extensions. It’s true that Edge has recently received its first batch of extensions, but these are not exactly numerous or even particularly useful at times, which is why Microsoft Senior Program Manager Jacob Rossi has stated that the company is working on a “porting tool to run Chrome extensions in Edge.” Apparently, this tool was designed to allow developers to create Edge versions of their extensions, but it’s worth mentioning that the tool doesn’t support all APIs at the time of writing.

That’s because it is not completely finished yet, but it’s probably safe to assume that it could prove very useful for developers once it reaches its final version. For now, the feature is still in its testing phase, and it is currently available only to Windows Insiders in the fast ring. If Microsoft Edge would receive support for Chrome’s extensions, do you think that you might consider making it your default browser? From my experience with it, Edge is a very snappy browser, but I think there’s something about its UI that drives people away.

Microsoft’s Edge to Test Browser Extensions

In this day and age, people enjoy customizing their experience with everything. The same goes for their experience when browsing online and with the likes of Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome offering countless extensions Microsoft’s latest browser, Edge, seems to be lacking the feature. That looks to change with Microsoft looking to test browser extensions for Edge soon.

The revelation comes from a change on their Edge extensions website, giving us an idea about now just what’s going to happen with their extensions but also what the first three will be.

First up will be a translation tool, followed by an extension for Reddit and finally an extension based on mouse gestures. If this doesn’t interest you the next part may, with the extensions compatible with Chrome as well.

Given their recent decision to end porting of apps from Android to Windows phones, the ability to use the same app’s on Edge and Chrome could entice people to explore the browser a little more, even if it does come with Windows 10.

Using extensions may have to wait though with the feature looking to be inserted into a future insider preview meaning that those of you who want to keep running a “stable” operating system may have to stick to Firefox or Chrome for that personal web feeling.

Gaming in Your Browser is About to Get Interesting With WebAssembly

WebAssembly, it may be something that most of you have never really heard of, but it’s going to have a huge impact on the way we use or web browsers. WebAssembly is a compiling technology, which is capable of bringing browser output closer to that of native machine code; not even the best JavaScript compilers come anywhere near it in terms of performance.

Luke Wagner, a Mozilla developer, helped reveal the new additions as Mozilla Hacks this week, while also confirming the availability of WebAssembly ports of Unity’s Angry Bots. The game can now be played on a Chrome, Firefox, Edge and even Safari will be joining the party soon enough.

Below you’ll find a video released by Microsoft that shows the Angry Bots running in Edge using the Chakra engine via WebAssembly.

‘Despite being an early implementation, the demo starts-up significantly faster than just using asm.js as the WebAssembly binaries have a smaller file size and parse more quickly than plain JavaScript that needs to be parsed in the asm.js case.’ said Chakra Program Manager Limin Zhu.

The new format for native web applications supports all the functionality enabled by the asm.js JavaScript subset. Rather than replace Java, it’ll simply expand on what was already possible seamlessly, while allowing more direct access to processor instruction sets, and many other benefits.

‘Two upcoming changes will also significantly improve the developer experience. A standard textual representation of WebAssembly will enable developers to view the source of a WebAssembly binary like any other web script or resource. In addition, the current placeholder Wasm object will be redesigned to provide a more powerful, idiomatic set of methods and properties to instantiate and introspect WebAssembly modules from JavaScript.’ said V8 Java, while announcing their collaboration with WebAssembly.

So what does this mean for most users? Not much in technical terms, but it’s already leading to faster performance, more features and more functionality for or browsers and web applications, which is certainly no bad thing.

Edge and Internet Explorer Browsers Lose Ground to Make Way for Google

It’s no big secret that Microsoft’s browsers are often swapped for offerings from Mozilla and Google, but it looks like their popularity has declined quite a bit last month, at least according to a recent report by Computerworld. Apparently, Edge and Internet Explorer accounted for 44.8% of all browsers used to reach the web in February 2016, and it’s worth keeping in mind that this number was at 57.4% last year. The numbers are still higher when compared to Google’s Chrome, but if the decline doesn’t stop at some point this year, the two companies might trade places as No.1 and No.2 on the chart eventually.

This is particularly worrying for Microsoft, because while Internet Explorer and Edge’s popularity saw a decline, Chrome was actually recording an increase in user share. At the end of February, Chrome reported a user share of 36.6%, which represents a 1.5% increase when compared to January and an 11.9-point increase when compared to February 2015. As far as Firefox is concerned, it gained just three-tenths of a percentage in order to climb to 11.7%, while Apple’s Safari also recorded a growth by two-tenths and reached 4.9%. The main problem with Microsoft seems to be related to Windows 10 and its default Edge browser. By “forcing” users to move to a new operating system with a new default browser, the company gave them the opportunity to rethink their browser choice and move over to rivals such as Chrome. If you ask me, Edge is definitely not a bad browser, but it still needs to receive several upgrades and new features in order to be able to go toe-to-toe with Chrome.

Microsoft Edge Browser is Storing Private Browsing Data

With the jump to Windows 10, Microsoft also hoped to say goodbye to their old Internet Explorer browser, one often berated by the tech savvy. In Edge, they included many features that were already staples among rival browsers, one such feature being the InPrivate browsing mode. It has come to light, however, that InPrivate may not be as private as it seems.

Researcher Ashish Singh found that the history of websites visited while using the InPrivate mode can be found by examining the WebCache file on the user’s hard drive. In fact, the browsing history of InPrivate can be found in the same “Container_n” table that stores browsing history from conventional tabs. As a result, if an attacker were able to access the table, they would be able to access the entire browsing history of a user, whether their browsing was done InPrivate or not. Singh wrote in Forensic Focus that “The not-so-private browsing featured by Edge makes its very purpose seem to fail.” The fact remains that this process would be difficult to perform by a regular user or attacker, and anyone wishing to uncover this ‘private’ browsing history would likely need to be skilled in the field and have local access to the target’s hard drive.

Edge is far from the first browser to employ a private browsing mode that is not fully secure and private browsing does often not ensure security. Private browsing features are a privacy feature first-and-foremost, and that one cannot fully protect against the most dedicated of attacks is perhaps unsurprising. The Verge has reported that Microsoft is investigating the results of Singh’s research into Edge “and we are committed to resolving this as quickly as possible.”

End of Life for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 on Tuesday

Internet Explorer has few fans amongst the tech community, with it’s blatant disregard for web standards and numerous security and privacy issues over the years. It has been some time in the works, but Microsoft has announced that the ‘end of life‘ of these older versions of their web browser as of Tuesday.

The ‘end of life’ announcement comes with a patch to go live on the 12th of January, KB3123303, providing a few final bug and security fixes for the browser, as well as introducing a ‘notification feature’. This feature will inform users upon starting the software that they should update to either the last supported version of IE, 11 or the new Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10. Those stubbornly wishing to stick to their current version of IE and enterprises that are yet to transition from the unsupported versions the notification can be disabled. Microsoft provided a step by step guide to this process, however, it does involve editing the registry, so the less experienced user may just be better giving in and updating.

In a way, it is surprising that support for Internet Explorer has lasted so long, with Microsoft demoting the browser to ‘legacy’ status last year and planning to end support for it’s older versions since 2014. Whether this move by Microsoft will drive the hundreds of millions of users of outdated IE users to update to 11 or make the jump to Windows 10 with Edge is debatable.  The move may just drive the users to competitor’s browsers instead of upgrading as their copy of IE becomes a security liability.

Google’s VP9 Codec is Coming to Microsoft Edge

Microsoft is officially incorporating WebM/VP9 support into its Windows 10-exclusive, Edge browser to produce the smoothest video streaming functionality available today. The open-source VP9 codec compresses video streams at a lower bit-rate whilst maintaining the source’s visual clarity. As a result, this method is useful for 4K streaming and reducing bandwidth demands. According to Microsoft, their plan is to:

“Our implementation of VP9 will support software decoding and, when supported by the device, hardware decoding. Since decoding video is computationally complex, the best experience with the software decoder will be seen on more powerful desktop and laptop computers.”

Intriguingly, Microsoft hasn’t dismissed the idea of adding compatibility for other codecs, such as OGG and FLAC:

“Given this, VP9 will initially be implemented behind an experimental flag in Microsoft Edge as we continue to work with industry partners on broader support for hardware decoding, and as we evaluate support for additional audio formats.”

“Beyond this, there are other existing open source audio and video formats we are evaluating, beginning with OGG, Opus, and Vorbis. We will continue to regularly update Microsoft Edge Platform Status page to identify formats that are in development or under consideration for future releases.”

VP9 functionality will initially be available to Windows Insider members who have access to the latest testing build.

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Discouraging Users From Downloading Competing Browsers

Microsoft is aggressively pushing the Edge browser in Windows 10 and trying to prevent users from downloading an alternative such as Chrome, Firefox or Opera. By default, Windows 10 only includes Microsoft products such as Edge or Internet Explorer 11 and you have to use Bing to procure a different browser. If you search for any other leading browser, a message pops up and proclaims, “Microsoft recommends Microsoft Edge for Windows 10,” and contains a “Learn why” button next to that message which directs you to a website outlining Edge’s feature set. In lieu of these revelations, Microsoft issued a statement which reads:

“Microsoft Edge was designed exclusively for Windows 10 with features and functionality that enhance the browsing experience such as Cortana, Web Note and Quick answers,”  

“These notifications were created to provide people with quick, easy information that can help them get to know these experiences better. That said, with Windows 10 you can easily choose the default browser and search engine of your choice.”

This kind of advertising isn’t limited to Microsoft as Google often argues the benefits of using Chrome. Although, EU courts have come down quite strong on Microsoft for pushing their browser.  In 2013, Microsoft were fined £481 million by a European court for engaging in anti-competitive behaviour. Originally, Microsoft divulged information about other web browsers to stop Internet Explorer’s unfair monopoly. However, this feature magically disappeared after a Windows 7 update. Microsoft argued this was due to a technical error. Whatever the case, it seems Microsoft is once again pushing their own browser and could be misconstrued as being unfair to the competiton. On another note, I’m not entirely convinced the notification will make any user refrain from downloading a competing product.

Thank you Venturebeat for providing us with this information.

Internet Explorer Celebrates Its 20th Birthday

The Internet Explorer isn’t the youngest application anymore, in fact, it could celebrate its 20th birthday yesterday. That’s quite a milestone and while it has been discontinued and replaced by the new Edge browser (formerly known as Spartan), it will undoubtedly be around for many more years on systems that won’t get a Windows 10 update. For a lot of people, Internet Explorer was just a tool to download another browser after installing Windows onto their systems, but the statistics show how many people actually used it and still do. And it is a lot.

August 16, 1995. That was the date when Microsoft revealed Internet Explorer 1 as part of the Internet Jumpstart Kit that was included as part of Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95. Version 2 came shortly after on November 22nd of the same year and brought along the introduction of Cookies, SSL support, and Newsgroups. From there on there were many version until Internet Explorer 11 saw the light of day on October 17th, 2013, the final version of Internet Explorer.

From now on it will be Edge and it has come off to a good start. While some do complain about it being memory hungry, other enjoy the speedy web browsing experience that it provides. Edge was officially announced in March this year, which also was the time that it got known that Internet Explorer would get the ax. Probably the best choice, even if they made Edge and called it Internet Explorer, people would stay away based on the name alone.

Thank You TechRadar for providing us with this information

Lenovo Used Hidden Windows Feature to Stop Users From Uninstalling Their Software

Lenovo has been secretly using an integrated Windows feature to automatically install their software suite even after a complete reformat. This was first discovered by Ars Technica forum user “ge814” and corroborated by Hacker News user “chuckup”. Essentially, Lenovo devices exploit a rootkit which prevents users from removing any Lenovo-branded software and overwrites a system file every time the PC boots.

So how does this work? Lenovo utilizes the Windows Platform Binary Table which was introduced in November 2011 to force software installation from the BIOS. ACPI tables are at the forefront of this terrible revelation and automatically configured during a fresh Windows install.  In this particular case, the Lenovo Search Engine downloads a program without your consent, entitled OneKey Optimizer. This piece of software is supposedly bundled to:

“Enhance PC performance by updating firmware, drivers and pre-installed apps as well as “scanning junk files and find factors that influence system performance.”

To make matters worse, the software relays information back to Lenovo for marketing purposes to gauge how customers use different hardware. Staggeringly, none of this is mentioned and the end-user has no option to opt out of this horrific anti-privacy technique. Lenovo defends the OneKey Optimizer and suggests the data collected is not,

“Personally identifiable information.”

However, I doubt any customer will trust them considering the lack of transparency surrounding this matter. Shockingly, if Windows 7, 8 or 10 is installed, the BIOS checks “C:\Windows\system32\autochk.exe” to determine if the file is signed by Microsoft or Lenovo. If the signature is still a Microsoft one, Lenovo overwrites the file without your permission. Thankfully, there is a fix using this link but what percentage of users are either aware of this or comfortable to make a BIOS revision.

The idea that a hardware manufacturer can force their own bloatware at a BIOS level is absurd. Give the consumer choice and let them install the software as an additional extra. Is it so difficult to purchase a laptop with just the vanilla operating system?

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Mozilla CEO Furious Over Windows 10

Even with the addition of the wonderful, stripped-down, and super-quick Edge browser, many Windows 10 users will still prefer to stick to their usual default internet browser, whether that’s Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. While that is still possible with Microsoft’s new operating system, users who have upgraded to Windows 10 will find that their previous default will revert to Edge automatically. A couple of button clicks allow you to change back, so no drama. Unless your name is Chris Beard and you happen to be the CEO of Mozilla, creator of the Firefox browser, that is.

The world is full of open letters, and that is exactly the medium that Beard has chosen to express his ire that users’ choice of browser is being ignored, and that Microsoft should cease imposing Edge by default for future upgraders.

Addressing his open letter directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Beard says:

“I am writing to you about a very disturbing aspect of Windows 10. Specifically, that the update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.

When we first saw the Windows 10 upgrade experience that strips users of their choice by effectively overriding existing user preferences for the Web browser and other apps, we reached out to your team to discuss this issue. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in any meaningful progress, hence this letter.”

Since the “problem” is easily correctable, this open letter seems less about challenging a great injustice and more about getting Firefox’s name in the press on the back of the Windows 10 wave. And I’ve just helped him. You’re welcome, Chris.

Thank you The Mozilla Blog for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mozilla.

Microsoft Edge Won’t Be Open Source, at Least Not Yet

It is not a secret that Microsoft is venturing more and more into the world of open source software and about a month ago a Microsoft executive even said that a full open source windows would be a definite possibility. But Microsoft’s new browser doesn’t follow that scheme and won’t be open source, at least not yet.

Microsoft dubbed their new browser Edge and gave the Internet Explorer icon an overhaul, but neither of the two impressed users or press. Microsoft is being accused of sticking too much to the old and not daring to venture too far away from the known realms. Previously, the industry speculated that Microsoft could base their browser on the same open-source WebKit engine that Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome browsers are built on, but we’ve now learned that this won’t be the case.

“At this time, we don’t plan to open-source Microsoft Edge or its platform components,” Microsoft declared in a statement. “We understand and value the importance about being more open with our roadmap and our core technologies. To that end, we’ve launched Microsoft Edge Platform Status for communicating our roadmap”

So while Microsoft has opened up over 1000 projects on GitHub, neither Windows nor their new Edge browser will be among them for some time. Nothing is ruled out for the future and Microsoft said that one of the first discussion they have about every product is whether to go open source or not. So it is a big a concern to them, they just haven’t found the golden middle way between the two worlds yet.

Ubuntu Phone with Desktop Capabilities on the Way

Parts of Ubuntu Edge, a Linux based smartphone operating system that failed in its crowdfunding effort two years ago, may be making a comeback in the form of a new device.

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced the company has been working with an unnamed manufacturer to produce a new device that can work as both a smartphone and as a desktop computer, a core concept to the Edge handset.

The Edge showed the ability to operate as a smartphone running Ubuntu, though once docked and connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, it was able to operate as if it was a full blown computer, complete with the full Ubuntu desktop and applications. The idea was to allow the user to take their data with them wherever they go, and to access it from both of the device’s states.

In a pre-Ubuntu developer summit keynote video, available on youtube, Mark Shuttleworth commented about Microsoft’s own announcements concerning convergence. He welcomed Microsoft’s Continuum concept, and calls it a “wonderful validation” of ideas Canonical has worked on over the last few years. With Microsoft’s own system, it does provide users a larger desktop-style workspace and access to desktop-style universal apps, but does not appear to offer the Start menu, the keyboard and mouse controls.

He did not state when the device on the device will be launched, he just stated that it will be this year. The Edge used a multi-core processor, 4GB ram and 128GB of storage. However, it is unclear if the new device will contain these specs.

Thank you to Electronista for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of The Verge

Upgrade Your System With Antec Competition [US Only]

It’s that awesome time of the week again, as we prepare to bring you an incredible competition courtesy of our friends at Antec US. We’ve got a great prize bundle to give away to one lucky winner, where they’ll receive a new chassis, water cooler and PSU to upgrade their system, or even to use as the basis of a new system altogether, it’s really up to you!

To make things even better, we’ve also got three other prizes to giveaway, with more of the prizes becoming available based on how many entries we receive. The more of you enter, the better your chances of winning! If we pass 600 entries, we’ll be giving away all four prizes to four lucky winners.

We recently reviewed the GX300, which you can read here. It’s a great chassis and the addition of a new water cooler and the stylish new Edge PSU, would be a great addition to anyone’s setup.

1st Prize

  • Antec GX300 Chassis (Black) – $39.99
  • Antec Kuhler 950 AIO Water Cooler – $99.99
  • Antec Edge 650 PSU – $129.95

2nd Prize – Unlocked After 200 entries

  • Antec GX300 Chassis (Black) – $39.99

3rd Prize – Unlocked After 400 Entries

  • Antec Kuhler 950 AIO Water Cooler – $99.99

4th Prize – Unlocked After 600 Entries

Be sure to like the official Antec Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages to stay up to date with all the latest product news, competitions and much more.

Antec Facebook
Antec Twitter
Antec YouTube

To be in with a chance of winning, just hit up the link below and follow a few simple steps.

Enter Here

Samsung Announces Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Samsung’s Unpacked event is going on right now, but a few publications have already published their hands-on impressions of the new devices.

There are two, as rumours have suggested – one with a conventional display and another with a curved screen. They will be available worldwide starting on April 10th. They come with Android 5.0 and “40% less” pre-loaded software.


  • 5.1-inch 2560×1440 Super AMOLED display with 577 ppi
  • Exynos Octacore processor, 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 32/64/128GB UFS 2.0 internal storage
  • Android 5.0
  • F/1.9 16MP rear camera with optical image stabilization and live HDR
  • F/1.9 5MP front camera with live HDR
  • Category 6 LTE with 300 Mbps down/50 Mbps up max theoretical speeds
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 AC with HT80 MIMO, Bluetooth LE, NFC, IR blaster
  • 2,550mAh (GS6) and 2,600mAh (GS6 edge) batteries

Both will have no removable battery and no memory card slot (hence the 128GB storage option). The new phones also support improved wireless charging and Samsung Pay; based on Loop Pay, a company Samsung recently purchased.

Source: TechCrunch

Antec’s 2014 Product Range Shown At CeBIT 2014

Here we are at the Antec booth at CeBIT 2014 and the first thing that caught our eyes was this funky new PSU. The EDG750 features 750w of continuous power that makes it an ideal choice for those interested in overclocking, coin mining and gaming. It features two 12v rails and will run at 80 Plus Gold efficiency.

Anti vibration rubber ends not only provide a practical function, but also add a little extra style. These can be swapped out to colour match the PSU to your personal preferences.

The PSU features a fully modular design and can even be switched into a hybrid mode to allow it to run passively cooled for completely silent operation.

Next up we have a wide range of new buget chassis models, as well as the funky HTPC style case, the NSK 1380.

The new HCP Platinum 850W PSU is another prime pick for high-end users, it’s super efficient, features rock solid build quality and continuous power deliver that make it ideal for a multi-GPU gaming rig.

Hey look, some lovely eTeknix awards on that poster!

That all the new stuff from the Antec booth for now, but I can tell you that we have another new Antec product in the eTeknix office, the P100 mid-tower chassis and we’ll be bringing you a full review of that very soon.

Check back later today for even more coverage from CeBIT 2014.