Microsoft is adding an adblocker to the mobile version of Edge, meaning anyone who wants to block ads will simply need to toggle a setting.
Edge for iPhone and Android launched last year, and uptake has been slow. The adblocking feature, which is available right now in the Edge Android beta, is likely an effort to change that.
Mobile adblocking isn’t unprecedented: Google’s Chrome blocks some ads, for example, and Firefox, Safari, and Opera all support adblocking in some form. Microsoft’s ad blocker, which is a collaboration with Adblock Plus, is unique in that a simple settings toggle—without the need for third party add-ons—will block nearly all ads. Here’s Tom Warren, writing for The Verge
Microsoft’s step is significant, as the company has partnered with Adblock Plus to build this functionality straight into the browser. Google previously unveiled its own ad blocking in Chrome for Android, but it’s not as aggressive as Adblock Plus and most ads aren’t blocked on the majority of sites. Mozilla’s Firefox for Android browser also includes a form of built-in ad blocking, but it’s only activated during an in-private tab session. Samsung Android users can also install Adblock extensions to block ads in Samsung’s browser.
Edge isn’t the most advanced mobile browser, but it offers neat integrations for PC users—there’s the the continue on PC feature, for example. Features like this could grab some attention, and maybe even help Microsoft colonize Android the way Google colonized Windows with Chrome. I’m sure that’s the idea, anyway. It will be interesting to see if ad blocking helps with that effort, but those of us who make a living online might prefer it if Microsoft went about this some other way.