Would you finally give up Chrome and start using Microsoft’s new browser if they paid you for it? Microsoft Edge was supposed to be a clean, minimalistic successor to the once mighty Internet Explorer but the fresh new face hasn’t taken off as well as Microsoft had hoped. That’s despite the fact that it automatically becomes the default browser when people install Windows 10 on their computers. Most everyone will simply download their own browser of choice as soon as they finish upgrading the operating system. Now Microsoft is hoping people will give Edge a chance if they add in a small bribe to sweeten the deal.
Microsoft Rewards – formerly Bing Rewards – will give US-based users points for using Edge for at least 30 hours a month. The points can be traded in for vouchers or credits at places like Amazon, Starbucks, and Skype. You’ll also need to make Bing your default search engine.
And Microsoft really wants you to try the browser out with no cheating. If you participate in the program, you’ll have to allow them to monitor your usage and track your mouse movements. It’s a somewhat alienating proposition for those with privacy concerns and could leave some people walking away from the deal.
The new program comes in the midst of some pretty unimpressive adoption figures for the fledgling browser. Only about one in four Windows 10 users actually use the Edge browser. According to Quantcast, Chrome is the most popular choice by far – hogging 70% of all browser activity originating from Windows 10 machines.
In the face of the challenge, Microsoft has been advertising the strengths of the browser aggressively. They tout the browser as faster and more battery friendly than both Chrome and Firefox. In a battery test, Edge outlasted Chrome by 70%. Edge also comes with some bells and whistles worth noting. It comes equipped with Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana and you can annotate pages with your own doodlings and highlights.
Still, Edge lacks some of the critical functions you could easily find in the bigger name browsers. For one, they notoriously didn’t support browser extensions until the recent anniversary update. So paying people just to use the browser might help them as they play catch up with Chrome and Firefox. But it’s clear they still have quite a ways to go.