Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Microsoft Edge Sends Images You View to Microsoft

Taras Buria (via Slashdot):

Not so long ago, Microsoft Edge ended up in hot waters after users discovered a bug leaking your browser history to Bing. Now you may want to toggle off another feature to ensure Edge is not sending every picture you view online to Microsoft.

Edge has a built-in image enhancement tool that, according to Microsoft, can use “super-resolution to improve clarity, sharpness, lighting, and contrast in images on the web.” Although the feature sounds exciting, recent Microsoft Edge Canary updates have provided more information on how image enhancement works.

The browser now warns that it sends image links to Microsoft instead of performing on-device enhancements.


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I don’t know that I understand Microsoft’s current strategy with Edge. First it was “almost as good as Chrome but friendlier with your OS [if you’re using Windows]”.

Then, briefly, it was, “Like Chrome but with more labs-like experiments”. I was game for that too.

Now - and I’d cite “now the home page sometimes resets itself after updates to show the MSN-style clickbait page” as the start of “now” - it seems to be “how can we possibly turn this into a serious revenue producer? Try anything, no matter how tacky!”

But… why? (I mean, yes, short-term money, but why? Why not the longer term buck? This isn’t a startup we’re talking about.)

Ruffin: Sounds like the ol' Embrace and Extend (and Extinguish), just they were lucky they could piggyback directly on vast majority of the OSS code that makes up Chrome.

Edge usage is incredibly low. I don’t think they are extinguishing Chrome with this strategy.

Chris: I agree. I meant that "extinguish" is MS's dream/theoretical end-goal. I see now my comment sounds more negative than I intended. I was trying to neutrally answer the "why?" question. Why wouldn't MS want to use all the code from Chromium that they can instead of developing their own browser that is never going to catch up with Chrome? (I say this as a Firefox user.) And once they have it, why would they not want to add their own special features?

MS adopting the Blink engine makes total sense to me. Their browser share was falling, and devs were no longer bothering to test their sites in Edge.

To give them credit, MS is upstreaming their changes to Blink, including improvements to battery life and memory usage, so it's not a totally parasitic relationship.

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