Microsoft has a new browser. It launched with Windows 10 and it is called Edge. The company says it is faster, more battery efficient and all-round better than Chrome or Firefox. It can be drawn on websites with a stylus. But the trouble is, not very many people are using it.
So now Microsoft is trying to bribe users to dump Google’s Chrome for its browser, but only if you make Bing your default search engine.
The newly rebranded Microsoft Rewards was formerly Bing Rewards, which paid people for using Bing as their search engine (another product Microsoft says is better than a Google product but that very few people actually use) will now pay you for using Edge, shopping at the Microsoft store, or using Bing.
Users of Edge who sign up to Microsoft Rewards, which is currently US only, are then awarded points simply for using the browser. Microsoft actively monitors whether you’re using Edge for up to 30 hours a month. It tracks mouse movements and other signs that you’re not trying to game the system, and you must also have Bing set as your default search engine.
Points can then be traded in for vouchers or credit for places such as Starbucks, Skype, Amazon and ad-free Outlook.com – remember, if you’re not paying for something, you are the product.
Whether paying people really works, or whether people really want to be tracked in their computer usage down to the nth degree – or to be made aware that they already are at least – remains to be seen.
According to investigation, Edge is actually pretty good, particularly if you’re on a Windows 10 laptop on battery power. But it will take a gargantuan effort and lots of money to get the 58% of internet users employing Chrome to switch to Edge in any meaningful number. Microsoft’s new scheme is unlikely to do that.