The built-in internet search in the Windows Start menu is cool, and much more helpful than you would possibly suppose. But like nearly each different a part of Windows currently, it insists on conserving you in Microsoft’s playpen by forcing hyperlinks to open in the Edge browser. That’s about to vary, a minimum of for those who dwell in most of continental Europe. A current change to the developer channel signifies that hyperlinks from the Start search and widgets in Windows 11 will open in the working system’s default browser, no matter that occurs to be.
The change comes in an August announcement on the Windows Insider Preview notes, with a pointed addendum that it’s only for the European Economic Area. That’s all of the international locations in the European Union, plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. “Windows system components use the default browser to open links,” says the put up, a change that will presumably head to the final Windows 11 launch inside just a few weeks or a few months. It ought to apply to just about any a part of the working system that opens a hyperlink through a browser, from the principle Start menu search to assist hyperlinks deep in submenus.
This will lastly repair a difficulty (Microsoft would name it a “feature”) that customers have been complaining about for years, ever since Microsoft inexorably tied its proprietary providers to the Edge browser and, by extension, the Bing search engine. PCWorld’s Mark Hachman was documenting Microsoft’s iron grip over Edge integration manner again in 2016. There have been numerous consumer work-arounds for this habits for individuals who needed to solely use third-party browsers like Chrome or Firefox. But Microsoft has repeatedly adjusted Windows to dam these instruments.
Why make this alteration only in Europe? The replace textual content doesn’t say. But for those who’ve adopted know-how information in any respect, you already know that Europe’s financial legal guidelines protecting competitors (or lack thereof) are much more strict than most elements of the world, with kind of each main American tech firm going through both intense scrutiny or express enforcement motion from the European Commission. As The Verge notes, this alteration is probably going being made to adjust to the Digital Markets Act which will come into impact subsequent yr.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, Microsoft appears intent to make these adjustments only the place it’s pressured to take action. The remainder of us Windows customers will nonetheless be seeing Edge tabs sometimes, whether or not we wish to or not.