Microsoft has been quite aggressive in its moves to get people away from Google Chrome and over to its revamped Edge browser. In its latest move, Microsoft Edge is adding a feature that imports data from Google Chrome constantly.
As highlighted by the folks over at Windows Latest, Microsoft Edge has an option to automatically import data from another browser, specifically Google Chrome. The previous “import browser data” page in Edge’s Settings menu used to simply offer a one-time import option for your data, syncing over bookmarks, passwords, your browsing history, and more. Clicking the option to import browser data would simply open a menu for a one-time import from any other browser on your computer.
But now, Microsoft has been allowing users to import browser data from Google Chrome on every launch. From what we can tell, the feature has been available in some capacity for at least a few months, but went largely under the radar until now, even as it’s live on Edge 101. It seems that new updates may be putting more emphasis on the feature. u/Leopeva64 notes that Edge 104, now in the Canary channel, redesigns the import page with a new look for this tool that puts much more emphasis on this setting.
Chrome is, notably, the only option for this automatic import setting, with Mozilla Firefox not showing up as an option as it does on the manual import option. Microsoft explains the feature:
Import browser data on each launch
Always have access to your recent browsing data each time you browse on Microsoft Edge
Importing data from another browser on your computer isn’t a new idea, and it’s certainly something Edge is more than happy to do. This latest change will simply do that automatically, in what’s clearly a move to make it easier for Google Chrome users to use Edge more often.
There are also a couple of new options for this. Microsoft Edge can import data from Chrome as usual, with bookmarks (though not automatically, right now), passwords, browsing history, settings, saved passwords, personal information, and payment details. But now, Edge can also pull open tabs and extensions over from Chrome. This would effectively mean that Edge can pick up where Chrome left off. Extensions, though, are also not available automatically at this point.
Windows Latest notes that imported tabs are marked as such, and Microsoft mentions on a support page that it can import up to 50 tabs at once. Microsoft has yet to update that same page with this automatic import option.
Being able to use Microsoft Edge as a mirror of Google Chrome is a pretty great idea, admittedly. The idea of being able to use Chrome with a specific set of extensions, settings, and more while essentially having a backup of that data in Edge is nice. It removes a barrier from switching between the two.
However, it still feels like Microsoft is trying too hard – again. Edge is a great browser on its own, and tools like this are indeed very helpful. But is this targeted behavior really necessary? At a technical level, this might only be possible with Chrome, but it’s surely no coincidence that Microsoft is clearly marking the feature as something you can do only with Chrome. It wouldn’t be surprising if, in the future, Microsoft turned on this feature by default either during or after setup.