Microsoft launched extension support in Windows 10's default system browser Microsoft Edge back in 2016 with the release of the Anniversary Update of Windows 10.
The new version of Edge launched with support for just a handful of extensions, and things did not speed up at all over the course of the year.
It was not clear why there were so few extensions available for Microsoft Edge. Was it because of a lack of developer interest? Because of Microsoft limiting what is released for the browser?
We asked you back then if you would give Edge a change if it would support your favorite extensions. Some said yes, others no, but many also said that they would at least try Edge in that case.
Microsoft's Edge team revealed in a blog post on the official Microsoft Edge Development blog why there are not that many extensions for Edge available.
The first reason that Microsoft gives is that Edge's extension system was -- and still is -- a work in progress. Microsoft improved the extension system of the Edge browser in the past year that extension developers can utilize to create extensions for the browser.
Before we could enable a wider ecosystem of extensions for our customers, we needed to improve the capabilities of our extensions platform to allow new categories of extensions and more features for existing extensions.
Microsoft maintains an extension API roadmap that lists supported and "under consideration" APIs.
More important than that is the second reason that the Edge team gives. According to the information, requirements exist for extensions that limit which extensions become available to users of Microsoft Edge.
We have taken a purposefully metered approach as we onboard new extensions. Extensions are one of the most substantial features in a new browser, and we have a high bar for quality. Because extensions interact so closely with the browser, we have been very attuned to the security, performance, and reliability of Microsoft Edge with these extensions enabled.
We are extremely sensitive to the potential impact of extensions on your browsing experience and want to make sure that the extensions we do allow are high-quality and trustworthy.
Poorly written or even malicious add-ons for browsers remain a potential source of privacy, security, reliability and performance issues, even today. We want users to be confident that they can trust extensions in Microsoft to operate as expected.
In short: Microsoft accepts extensions only if they meet certain requirements in regards to security, performance and reliability. In other words, if an extension falls short in one of the areas, for instance if it impacts performance too much or causes crashes or slow downs, it won't be released in Store until the issues are resolved.
Microsoft's approach in regards to extensions is different than that of other browser developers. Anyone can publish extensions for Firefox and Chrome for instance; these have to pass automated tests (Chrome), or a review (Firefox) before they are published.
While it is understandable that Microsoft wants only extensions in Store that don't impact the user experience in a negative manner, the lack of extensions may paint Edge in a negative light as well especially when compared to the thousands of extensions that are available for Chrome or Firefox.
Now you: Do you think that Microsoft's strategy in regards to Edge extensions makes sense?Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.