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.