Microsoft is adding support for browser extensions to its mobile web browser for Android. The browser, recently renamed to Microsoft Edge: AI Browser, currently does not support extensions.
Most Chromium-based browsers, like Google Chrome, also do not support browser extensions on mobile, which keeps Android users away from content blockers.
Recently, Mozilla introduced full extensions support in Firefox for Android. Some Chromium-based browsers do support Chrome extensions, and certain Chrome browsers, such as Brave, Vivaldi, and Opera, come with native content blocking functionality.
When Microsoft released Microsoft Edge for Android in 2021, it followed Google by not supporting extensions. However, Microsoft’s mobile browser supports tracker and adblocking by default, which is powered by Adblock Plus.
Extensions for Microsoft Edge: KI Browser for Android
Microsoft has introduced a new experimental flag in Microsoft Edge: KI Browser for Android. This feature, available only in the Canary development version of the browser, adds support for extensions when enabled.
Reported by Leopeva64, the feature is still a work in progress. Some users, after activation, see an Extensions link under Menu in Edge for Android that lists three extensions: Dark Reader, uBlock Origin, and Global Speed.
- Dark Reader enables dark mode support for any website visited in the browser.
- uBlock Origin is a widely popular content blocker.
- Global Speed allows users to control the playback speed of video and audio content.
However, the extensions button did not appear on some test systems after enabling the flag, possibly indicating a gradual roll-out to the entire user base.
When it comes to extensions support, Microsoft has two main options: focusing on a few select extensions, similar to what Mozilla did in Firefox for Android, or unlocking full extensions support.
Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Focusing on select extensions allows Microsoft to ensure their perfect functionality in the mobile version of the browser, but unlocking all extensions expands the browser’s capabilities, potentially leading to some extensions not working correctly in the mobile version due to differences in interfaces, APIs, technology, or device support.
Currently, users can enable the functionality by:
- Entering edge://flags in the Microsoft Edge for Android version of the browser.
- Searching for Android Extension or scrolling down to find the flag.
- Enabling it.
- Restarting Microsoft Edge for Android.
The experimental flag has landed in Microsoft Edge Canary recently, but development may not yet be complete. It could take several months or longer before support for extensions arrives in the stable version of Microsoft Edge for Android.
Nevertheless, the support for extensions provides Microsoft with an advantage over its main competitor, Google.
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