Extension support has long been one of the weaker features in Microsoft’s browsers. With Edge, the company now offers a new, more modern browser, and starting today, users who signed up for the Windows Insider program can try the first preview release of Edge with support for extensions.
This doesn’t come as a complete surprise, of course. Extensions were always on Microsoft’s public roadmap for Edge, though it was never quite clear when exactly the company would launch this feature.
Microsoft argues that one of the reasons it moved slowly here was to ensure extensions could run in the browser without compromising security.
“As we have also shared, one of our highest priorities is to ensure that Microsoft Edge is the safest, most reliable and fastest browser we could build, and our experience over the past 20 years has taught us that poorly written or even malicious add-ons were a huge source of security, reliability and performance issues for browsers,” Microsoft’s general manager for Edge Drew DeBruyne writes today. “With this in mind, we have built Microsoft Edge so customers can add extensions to the browser with the confidence that they will operate as expected.”
Currently there are only three working extensions for Edge: Microsoft Translator, the Reddit Enhancement Suite, and Mouse Gestures. Coming soon are AdBlock, Adblock Plus, Amazon, LastPass, Evernote and others.
For now, users will have to install extensions manually, but in the future, they will be able to install them right from the Windows Store.
Microsoft stresses that it is participating in the W3C Browser Extension Community Group, which aims to create a standard API for browser extensions, which should at least theoretically make it easier for developers to write add-ons that’ll work across browsers.
With this update, Microsoft is also going to bring pinned tabs (a feature long available in all other major browsers), as well as some copy-and-paste improvements, to Edge as well.