Chromium-based Edge changes user agent according to the website

by Anmol
April 23, 2019

A couple of weeks back, Microsoft officially launched the Chromium-based Edge for Windows 10 users. The browser, for the most part, works perfectly and can be a great replacement for the existing Edge browser or even Google Chrome in the future.

However, it looks like one element of Edge is out of the order or at least that’s what we think right now. According to a test by Bleeping Computer, Chromium-based Edge changes its user agent according to the website. The browser reports itself as Google Chrome when visiting websites. For instance, the browser identifies itself as Microsoft Edge when visiting Netflix but changes to Chrome when visiting Facebook. While this seems odd, Bleeping Computer had a perfectly good reason why this is happening.

There are some popular sites that look better or offer better usability in a particular browser. As the new Microsoft Edge is in the unique position of having the highly supported Blink engine from Chromium, but enhanced video playbook of the PlayReady DRM from Microsoft, it can pick and choose what capabilities it wants to advertise to the site.

For example, this allows it to tell a site that it’s Google Chrome if the site work better in Google Chrome browsers. This feature also may allow it to pretend to be the original Microsoft Edge when connecting to video streaming sites in order to take advantage of Microsoft DRMs such as PlayReady, which are not normally supported in Chromium browsers.

While this might not be ideal, it does allow Microsoft to offer the best of both worlds to the users. While web developers do share the blame of designing websites with a certain browser in mind, they are just looking out for their best interest.

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