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Microsoft unveils new Edge Privacy Tools concept

Microsoft unveiled a new privacy tools concept for the company’s upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser on the first day of the 2019 Microsoft Build conference.

Microsoft’s concept introduces a privacy dashboard in the web browser that aims to make things easier to understand for users.

The current version displays three privacy levels to users — unrestricted, balanced, and strict — which users may activate with a single click.

The concept may sound familiar to Firefox users as Mozilla’s web browser uses privacy presets as well. Mozilla started to push Tracking Protection in Firefox in 2017 and improved the feature recently with new options.

Firefox users may select standard, strict and custom to block trackers and cookies (or allow them).

microsoft-edge privacy tools concept

From what has been revealed by Microsoft, Microsoft’s privacy dashboard comes without custom option. It is certainly possible that such an option exists as Microsoft did not reveal what else is listed on the browser’s privacy and security configuration page.

All three presets block malicious trackers but the similarities end there.

  • Unrestricted: allow all trackers (but malicious ones), you will see personalized ads, sites will function correctly.
  • Balanced: blocks trackers from unvisited sites, you will see ads based on other visited sites, sites will function correctly.
  • Strict: blocks potential trackers, you will see minimal ads, will break some sites.

Users may select any of the presets in the Edge Settings under Privacy & Security. It is likely that Balanced is selected by default but that has not been confirmed.

Microsoft added Tracking Prevention information to the icon menu of sites as well. Just click on the site icon next to a site’s URL to display tracking information and options.

microsoft edge tracking prevention

Microsoft Edge displays the number of allowed and blocked trackers on the page, and the current privacy level. A menu is provided to change the privacy level right then and there.

Closing Words

Tracking blocking is not full ad-blocking but it certainly is a step in the right direction. When Edge was launched, I asked myself why Microsoft would not integrate full ad-blocking in the browser to beat Chrome and hurt Google at the same time.

Google did add an ad-blocker to Chrome but the native blocker only becomes active if a site goes overboard with advertisement that Google does not find acceptable.

While Microsoft has an advertising division as well, it is not nearly as dependent on advertising revenue as Google is. Tracker blocking improves the loading time of webpages significantly on average.

I’d like a custom option that gives me full control over the blocking, similar to the one that is in Firefox.

Now You: What is your take on this development?

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