Google Now Forces Microsoft Edge Preview Users to Use Chrome for the Modern YouTube Experience

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Google, Microsoft with 49 Comments

Microsoft started testing a new Microsoft Edge browser based on Chromium a little while ago. The company has been releasing new canary and dev builds for the browser over the last few weeks, and the preview is actually really great. In fact, I have been using the new Microsoft Edge Canary on my main Windows machine and my MacBook Pro for more than a month, and it’s really good.

But if you watch YouTube quite a lot, you will face a new problem on the new Edge. It turns out, Google has randomly disabled the modern YouTube experience for users of the new Microsoft Edge. Users are now redirected to the old YouTube experience, which lacks the modern design as well as the dark theme for YouTube, as first spotted by Gustave Monce. And when you try to manually access the new YouTube from youtube.com/new, YouTube simply asks users to download Google Chrome, stating that the Edge browser isn’t supported. Ironically, the same page states “We support the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Edge.”

The change affects the latest versions of Microsoft Edge Canary and Dev channels. It is worth noting that the classic Microsoft Edge based on EdgeHTML continues to work fine with the modern YouTube experience.

The weird thing here is that Microsoft has been working closely with Google engineers on the new Edge and Chromium. Both the companies engineers are working closely to improve Chromium and introduce new features like ARM64 support to Chromium. So it’s very odd that Google would prevent users of the new Microsoft Edge browser from using the modern YouTube experience. This is most likely an error on Google’s part, but it could be intentional, too — we really don’t know for now.

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Comments (49)

49 responses to “Google Now Forces Microsoft Edge Preview Users to Use Chrome for the Modern YouTube Experience”

  1. dontbe evil

    what a surprise /s


    "don't be evil"

  2. Bats

    Stuff like this happens when a component in Chrome is not working or disabled. Being that Microsoft stripped a lot of processes out of their version of the Chromium browser, I wouldn't be totally surprised.


  3. falken

    Question is, who is the nazi faker here.

  4. Patrick3D

    Old Youtube design is better, less whitespace and more content on the screen at one time.

  5. tboggs13

    I dislike Google more than the next guy, but I have to give them the benefit of the doubt here. At least the company. I could see a rogue internal developer getting cheeky, but Google could lose a lot of external developer good will by playing these games with websites.


    Other than that, I have had enough Microsoft sites fail to work properly with Microsoft browsers, that this seems like a minor issue. At least it still works. If we still have these issues after Edgium is the Windows default, then I will get concerned.

    • codymesh

      In reply to tboggs13:

      i'm not giving them the benefit of the doubt. What's even the rationale for blocking a browser? Especially one that is basically identical to the one they ship and test on? It makes no sense.


      A Mozilla engineer explained how each time Google did an 'oopsie' like this, they lost users. If this continues, they will no doubt be proven right

  6. rmac

    You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.

  7. TheJoeFin

    Google has explained this before. Teams at Google use a whitelist of supported browsers. Since the new Edge has a new User Agent String it comes up not supported.


    This issues is created because the team at Google doesn't want to write the code which would check to see if a browser supports all of the needed features, instead they just whitelist a few browsers they know work.

    • shadetc

      In reply to TheJoeFin:

      I did a bit of testing and it looks like it is specifically searching for "Edg" for blocking it. It's case sensitive (edg will not trigger it), and it will allow "Edge" if the final "e" is included.


      Using the developer tools I changed the user agent string to the following ones and here's what worked and didn't work. As you can see it's not a hard white list as lots of random items seem to work for the final agent identifier.


      Worked:

      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 Edge/76.0.167.1


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 TotallyNotMicrosoft/76.0.167.1


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 Netscape/76.0.167.1


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 IE6/76.0.167.1


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 Fooedg/76.0.167.1


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 FooEdge/76.0.167.1


      Didn't Work:

      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 Edg/76.0.167.1 (This is the actual Chromium Edge Agent String)


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 TotallyNotMicrosoftEdg/76.0.167.1


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 EdgBrowser/76.0.167.1


      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3800.0 Safari/537.36 FooEdg/76.0.167.1






      • TheJoeFin

        In reply to ShadeTC:


        This is super interesting! It seems this would prove that Google (at least the YouTube Team) is targeting the Chromium Edge browser and excluding it. Very different behavior than what Google officially described when this blocking was happening on Google Docs and Google Hangouts.


        This Chromium Edge will be a true test of open source and how big companies react to their work being leveraged by direct competitors.

      • ianhead

        In reply to ShadeTC:

        Great post. Just tried this myself, with the same results. So they are actively singling out the Chromium version of Edge for blacklisting, over other Chromium-based browsers like Opera/Vivaldi/Brave that report themselves in their user agents. I can't think of any possible reason that they would have to do this aside from trying to sabotage Edge's adoption.

    • Ben Lee

      In reply to TheJoeFin:

      The new experience had been working fine until today, this has been actively disabled.

  8. Lordbaal

    It sounds like you are trying to give them a pass.

    If Microsoft does the same thing to their site and block all Chrome users. I'll bet you'll be complaining.

  9. Lordbaal

    This is Google's fault. They did something to make it not look the same as in Chrome. Because Yesterday it was working just fine.

  10. hybrilynx

    Google better watch it. My laptop is ran by Microsoft, they can overall prevent Chrome from ever being installed to begin with.

  11. kjb434

    Neowin got an update from Google noting this was a "bug" and it is getting corrected.


    I call BS.

  12. remc86007

    I guess this is a knock on Google; I thought the old version was actually a new, better version...the old one runs way faster.

  13. datameister

    So what did Microsoft change to make the new Edge uncompatible? That would be my first question when using alpha software. It works in old Edge right?

    • Lordbaal

      In reply to DataMeister:

      It is not Microsoft. It is Google. YouTube looked fine all weekend. Edge haven't been updated since last Thursday.

      Then all the sudden since yesterday it started to look like the old UI.

  14. elijah fowler

    I did some debugging and discovered that this isn't Google blocking Edge Preview from using the new UI, it's because Microsoft typo'd the user agent string, so instead of "Edge/76..." it's "Edg/76...". Fixing the user agent string in the developer tools causes the new UI to render in Edge preview.


    Instead of going with clickbait titles and content that is just plain ignorant, people might want to actually find out the truth before reporting something as fact.


    But maybe I'm just old school and telling the truth for truth's sake is not a marketable product.


    TLDR; The Microsoft Edge Team fucked up and typo'd something that causes YouTube to only render the old interface on the Edge Preview, Google is not to blame.

    • codymesh

      In reply to elijah fowler:

      NO.


      "Edg" is the new agent string used by the new browser by design, because "Edge" is used by old Edge.


      And because "Edg" is for the new browser, Google is in fact explicitly blocking this browser in particular.


      twitter.com/sinclairinator/status/1133449834646638593


      Either way, no matter what, any kind of whitelisting is stupid, and blacklisting a browser that is basically identical to Chrome which they test with is also stupid.


      Stop making excuses! Stop f*cking up the web!

    • Lordbaal

      In reply to elijah fowler:

      It is not Microsoft. It is Google. YouTube looked fine all weekend. Edge haven't been updated since last Thursday.

      Then all the sudden since yesterday it started to look like the old UI.

  15. Jeff.Bane

    They did this with the youtube Windows Phone app as well.

  16. Lateef Alabi-Oki

    You guys are using alpha software, and are whining about how it doesn't work as expected. Seriously, stop all this bitching. Edge on Chromium is not even stable yet. Bitch when it's stable and Google breaks things. Jesus Christ!


    There are other Chromium and non-Chromium based browsers that work just fine with Google services. Why hasn't Google broken their services for these browsers.


    Google makes money when you use their services. It's the reason they invested in a their own browser and open sourced it. It's the reasons they've invested in the web the last 20 years. It's the reason they've invested in Open Source, in general.


    It's makes no goddamn reason for them to deliberately block a browser accessing their services, unless said browser is not standards compliant, is in development, is insecure, or is misconfigured.


    Making a big scene about how alpha software isn't working as expected is just idiotic and irresponsible.

      • Lateef Alabi-Oki

        In reply to RM:


        Windows Phone failed because it was shit. It had nothing to do with Google. The market made their choice. You Windows fanboys are delusional.


        Is Google also responsible for Tizen's failure? How about WebOS? Of course, not. Why? Because Google is under no obligation to support a proprietary platform that doesn't benefit them.


        Windows Phone was shit that why it failed. Get over it. Blaming Google for Microsoft's ineptitude is silly.

    • jbinaz

      In reply to mystilleef:

      One, it is alpha and still in dev but it's pretty stable.


      Two, no one is complaining. The article clearly states it could be a mistake or it could be intentional. It is at least semi-newsworthy.


      Relax, dude. So many things to get up worked up about, but this article isn't one of them.

      • Lateef Alabi-Oki

        In reply to jbinaz:


        It's not pretty stable if websites are getting confused by it. This Google is the boogeyman trope is getting played out. If ya'll hate Google so much, how both you stop fucking using their shit. Yes, that include Microsoft.

    • RobCannon

      In reply to mystilleef:

      The big deal here is that it was working fine, and then Google made a change on their end so it stops working. Google has a reason to make sure that their browser is the only one in use because they get all the tracking they need from the browser. This is just a part of the pattern of abuse that has been in the Google playbook for years.

      • Lateef Alabi-Oki

        In reply to RobCannon:


        That's BS. I've been accessing Google services on alternative browsers for the past 20 years. So what pattern of abuse are you talking about? The only company with a pattern of abuse as far as the Web is concerned is and has always been Microsoft. So spare me.

        • skane2600

          In reply to mystilleef:

          Below you say "Google is under no obligation to support a proprietary platform that doesn't benefit them." It seems to me that the only "abuse" that Microsoft was guilty of with respect to the web was a failure to support other platforms that didn't benefit them. We realize you prefer Google to Microsoft, but I suggest trying to judge them using the same criteria.

      • Lateef Alabi-Oki

        In reply to RobCannon:


        Of course it was working fine. But what if an update to Edge broke something. What if an update to YouTube that wasn't tested on Edge broke something. Web services are not static, a service like YouTube could deployed multiple times a day. And I doubt any company has a continuous integration test suite for Edge, a PRERELEASE software, that isn't even officially available.


        Pattern of abuse my ass. The only company with a pattern of abusing the web is Microsoft. Microsoft and its fanboys need to get off their high horses now that they've found Jesus. After all, it was only a couple of years ago, that you'll thought everything Google did or made sucked.

        • codymesh

          In reply to mystilleef:

          "You test your website against the major browsers and blacklist against browser you haven't tested for."


          "it works on every browser I've thrown at it."


          lol. Incredible self-own.

    • crfonseca

      In reply to mystilleef:

      Blocking browsers is not the way of the web. We've had this debate years ago when IE 6 dominated the web.

      That's why there's sites like "Can I use", so developers can see what features they can use, instead of what browsers they should require their users use.

      Oh, a by the way, "Can I use" does feature Edgium, so there's really no way to consider it a unknown quantity.

      • Lateef Alabi-Oki

        In reply to crfonseca:


        In your perfect bubble sure. In the real world, that's impractical. You test your website against the major browsers and blacklist against browser you haven't tested for. That's the responsible thing to do. Edge is prerelease software, anyone expecting devs to test against prerelease software is delusional.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to mystilleef:


      Hangouts does not work in anything but Chrome as far as my experience goes.

    • falken

      In reply to mystilleef:

      Without windows user base, there will be no Google at all.

    • Lordbaal

      In reply to mystilleef:

      It was working fine yesterday. And Edge didn't get a update since last Thursday.

    • skane2600

      In reply to mystilleef:

      Using your logic, there was never a reason for Google to create Chrome because people could access their services just fine with the browsers already available. They knew that having their own browser would enhance their ability to make money which is the only reason they created one.

  17. carlmess

    Isn't that the same Google that never provided an app for Windows Phone?

  18. clinteastman

    A quick fix is to use the "User-Agent Switcher and Manager" extension.

  19. nbplopes

    This is unethical towards users. MS pulled this off before. Now they all open until .... the same old lies.


    Wether you like or not, take it or leave it, the only company that was always and mostly straight towards both developers and customers is one .. And because they did not vomited whatever you wanted to ear they are disliked by many.


    It is funny WebKit is free and open, built towards openness, privacy and security. Than the “nice guys” of the day start voicing how the team did not play ball, bla bla ... branched branched ir and convinced the usual Chickens in the aviary that was for the good ...


    Look at them now pushing the chickens where they want them to be ...


    lolllol

  20. mrdrwest

    Error it is not. Fear, anger it is.