Suddenly, it’s all starting to come together: With the release of Windows 10 Insider build 14361 this week, Microsoft is now providing the LastPass extension to users of its Edge web browser. That closes the loop, I think, on the most-frequently requested features for this product, and could put Edge over the top when the Windows 10 Anniversary update hits this summer.
And that release can’t happen quickly enough, if you’re concerned about Edge usage: While Windows 10 has quickly jumped to over 10 percent usage in desktop OS market, Edge usage has lagged. Today, it accounts for just under 5 percent of desktop web browser usage, according to the latest data from NetApplications. By comparison, Google Chrome has jumped to 46 percent of all usage, while stumbling Firefox ekes out less than 9 percent.
Lack of interest in Edge is understandable: When the browser launched as part of Windows 10 last July, it was horribly incomplete and missing many key features. The big one, of course, is extension support. But that support is arriving in the free Windows 10 Anniversary update, which is expected to ship in late July.
So Microsoft has provided early peeks at Edge extension support over the past several Insider builds. Aside from the initial release that supported extensions, the biggest step forward was the arrival of first-class ad blocking last month. But with this latest build, we’re seeing platform-agnostic password management courtesy of LastPass, plus some much-needed changes to the way extensions can display within the browser.
Assuming you’re running the latest Insider build, LastPass is now available for Edge via a roundabout route: You select Extensions from Edge’s “More” (“…”) menu, select “Get extensions from the Store” from the pane that appears, and then click the “Download extensions” button on the web page that appears. to browser available extensions.
When you find an extension you want, just click the corresponding “Open in Store” button. Extension installation is now much cleaner and more reliable than before: After enduring a curiously time-consuming download process—it must be based on Windows 7’s Windows Update—Edge pops to the forefront and announces that it has a new extension for you … to install.
Seriously, Microsoft, could you add another step?
Anyway, once you agree to “Turn it on,” a curious choice of words, the extension is available to use. The UI isn’t great, or obvious: New extensions appear at the top of the list of items in that “More” menu. But you can right-click any extension in the list and choose “Show next to address bar” to get its button out from this hidden place and out front and center where you (may) want it. You can also choose “Manage” to customize any extension options.
Here, you can see the three must-have extensions I’ve added to Edge: Save to Pocket, LastPass, and AdBlock.
The arrival of LastPass should put Edge over the top for many, and from what I can see this is as full-featured as the version for Chrome.
As I noted in Ad Blocking is a Step Forward for Microsoft Edge, a few minor quibbles remain, however, at least for me: Edge offers no way to sync Favorites to popular mobile web browsers like Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. And I can’t pin web apps to the taskbar from Edge, as I can with Chrome (or Internet Explorer for that matter).
Still, this is a big day. And I bet we’re going to see Edge usage surge as the Anniversary update heads out and consumers realize that Microsoft’s new browser is no longer the also-ran that shipped in July 2015.
Tagged with Microsoft Edge