Microsoft's war against Chrome battery life now includes Windows 10 notifications

Microsoft decided to target Google's Chrome browser back in June with a new campaign designed to highlight how bad the browser is for your laptop battery life. While Microsoft's marketing effort was initially limited to a YouTube video and associated website, the software maker has started to take things a step further in its battery battle in recent weeks.

Windows 10 users are reporting that the tips feature of the OS is generating notifications to try and convince people to switch away from using Google's Chrome browser. "Chrome is draining your battery faster," reads the notification. "Switch to Microsoft Edge for up to 36 percent more browsing time," it advises. The alerts started appearing in early July for both Chrome and Firefox users, but not everyone using Windows 10 is receiving them. I personally received an alert this morning, and was surprised Microsoft was using Windows itself to convince me to ditch Chrome.


Google has used similar tactics for years on its homepage to convince Internet Explorer users to switch to Chrome, and with a search task bar it supplied for IE users to install in their browsers. Both were key methods of attracting more Chrome users, and they've been effective in making it the most popular desktop browser. However, Google hasn't been able to generate Windows system notifications like Microsoft can. Microsoft's use of Windows 10 notifications feels like uncharted territory, and it risks alienating and irritating users with notifications to switch to its Edge browser.

I reached out to Microsoft to ask how long these notifications have been appearing, and the reasons behind them. "These Windows Tips notifications were created to provide people with quick, easy information that can help them enhance their Windows 10 experience, including information that can help users extend battery life," says a Microsoft spokesperson. "That said, with Windows 10 you can easily choose the default browser and search engine of your choice." If you don't want to receive Microsoft's recommended "tips," you can simply disable them from the notification settings in Windows 10.


Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Comments

Normally, I’ll be one of the first people to defend Microsoft for whatever boneheaded thing they did, but honestly this just feels, I don’t know, wrong? Slimy? Something is just very unsettling here, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

so you think this is slimy too? I was just there to check my email and google detected I was using firefox and pushed this crap on my screen.

Personally, I don’t like that either. I wouldn’t say it’s the same thing as what Microsoft is doing here, but it’s still not ideal behavior on Google’s part. I don’t use Google as my search engine, though, so it only effects me in so far as that as the market leader they influence what everyone else does.and what people consider broadly acceptable.

I wouldn’t say it’s the same thing as what Microsoft is doing here

You’re right. It’s MUCH worse.

lol, sure it is….

I’ve dismissed Google’s ads thousands of times. Microsoft’s can be disabled once.

Google’s are worse.

I shouldn’t have to disable ads in an OS at all. Stop apologizing for Microsoft.

And yet when this forces Google to fix their shit browser performance you’ll reap the benefits anyway.

It obviously isn’t that big of a deal since Microsoft is so threatened by Chrome that they need resort to this bullshit.

Microsoft users will defend anything, just like you did with Windows Phone.

What the hell are you going on about? "Threatened by it"?

Of course they are fraking "threatened by it" in the same way that someone with stage 3 cancer is "threatened by it".

Chrome has 3000% of Edge’s market share (and growing), way more mind share and is being aggressively advertised by Google ad-nauseam via 35 of the top 100 websites worldwide.

Meanwhile on all those computers Chrome is completely destroying battery life and generally ruining the Windows experience (horrible touch/trackpad support, no pen support, no support for the notification centre, no Store support etc etc etc).

Trackpads are horrible without Chromes help, thank you very much. Edge feels like a pig on skates compared to the competition. Applies to battery life as well, faked benchmarks aren’t even needed to showcase that a modern Windows laptop can barely make it to 5 hours just standing there doing nothing.

The store was Microsofts hot headed, tacked on idea to get users to actually pay for something on the desktop for once. But unfortunately no one’s ever using it. The money is spent on web services.

We all see they get frustrated by it. But smear campaigns and anti competitive ads do not cover up the fact that Windows is a 30 y/o moloch whose age causes all kinds of troubles not seen or felt on contemporary systems.

Trackpads are horrible without Chromes help

Congratulations on never using a precision trackpad. Ignorance is bliss.

Edge feels like a pig on skates compared to the competition

That’s demonstrably incorrect.

a modern Windows laptop can barely make it to 5 hours just standing there doing nothing

Again, demonstrably incorrect.

The store was Microsofts hot headed, tacked on idea to get users to actually pay for something on the desktop for once… The money is spent on web services.
  • Microsoft support hosted web apps in the Store
  • Microsoft have commited to supporting PWA’s in the Store as well
  • Microsoft supports third party payment platforms in Store apps (they aren’t Apple)
We all see they get frustrated by it.

Mostly just Google treating Windows users like shit.

Microsoft have a vested interest in improving the user experience in Windows, Google don’t.

That’s basically what this entire thing boils down to. Everything Microsoft are doing here is to improve the user experience in Windows.

They butt heads with Google because Google are heavily insentivised to ignore the user experience of their customers on Windows.

They are only starting to look at the battery issues in Chrome now because of the groundswell of pissed of users, otherwise they would have ignored it completely.

After they finally fix the battery issues we can move onto proper trackpad support with gestures, touch support, and Windows Hello (among others).

My laptop has a precision trackpad.

Have you even used a diffrent system? Do you know how Safari feels on OSX or Chrome on ChromeOS? Edge is not even in the same ballpark.

Mine couldn’t get to 5 hours before I stopped using Chrome. Now I get 8 hours.

And you just had to cripple your browsing experience for it. Fair enough.

How is it crippled? What do I need that Chrome has that Edge doesn’t? It loads things faster than Chrome, I have Adblock. Couldn’t ask for anything else.

I shouldn’t have to disable ads in an OS at all

I did some math.

If I’ve dismissed Google’s ad twice a day for the last 4 years, and if each time it distracted me for 5 seconds I’ve wasted just over 4 hours of my life telling Google I don’t want to change my default browser to Chrome.

Delivering the same ad over and over and over and over and over again on 35 of the top 100 websites on the Internet is way worse than a single off screen notification that can be easily ignored or permanently dismissed once.

It’s not the same thing as a big pop up while using a browser. This is non intrusive. Still not ideal though.

No it isn’t. Your example is simply an ad, nothing more. For it to be equivalent it would have to say "FireFox is corrupting your emails, switch to chrome". But it does not say that.

There is a BIG difference between advertising your products and directly ATTACKING other products directly in notifications.

Does Firefox actually corrupt your email though?

We still remember when Google was actively breaking the experience on competing browsers to get people to switch to Chrome.

Anyway, this is a win-win for consumers if it gets Google to fix the battery consumption of Chrome in Windows.

At no point did Google intentionally break rendering experience on competing browsers. Keep in mind that Chrome’s rendering engine is open source, so any form of rendering that is done differently can easily be emulated by other browsers by reviewing the source code. I do remember when MS intentionally broke experiences for competing browsers to keep their dominance and since their rendering engine is closed source, emulation was a hit or miss and took years.

I am sure Google planned on fixing the battery consumption anyways, some things though are outside their hands and are tied down to the OS. That said regardless, these kind of shady anti-competitive practices by MS should not be tolerated regardless.

At no point did Google intentionally break rendering experience on competing browsers.

Do you remember when Google pushed out a YouTube comment update and didn’t check if it worked in IE11?

What do you call it when you don’t bother testing a feature on a competitors browser? Willful negligence?

I assure you, MS pretty much never checks if their stuff works in competitor browsers. Many of their things forces you to use IE. If MS is not doing it, why should Google?

So you know many programmers use Linux or OS X for their coding. So they do not have access to a PC for testing. If MS offered their browser for other platforms, the chance of their thing being tested would increase.

Did it work on other browsers like FireFox or Safari? If IE is the outliner it says a lot more there.

I assure you, MS pretty much never checks if their stuff works in competitor browsers. Many of their things forces you to use IE.

OMG… are you actually serious?

It hasn’t been like that for… I don’t even know?!?! 10 years maybe?

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