Who do you trust?

Trust is a must or your browser’s a bust.

Why did Firefox disable the Web of Trust extension?

I was a big fan of the Web of Trust (WOT) browser extension.

It displayed green, red, and yellow icons next to search results, suggesting which sites were safe, unsafe, and sketchy. But WOT was also collecting search data and selling it on to third parties without notifying us.

You might have noticed it was missing or disabled in Firefox. Mozilla did that because of the data collection/non-disclosure issue, and because when that all came to light, some antispyware/antimalware programs began identifying WOT as spyware.. 

Google also pulled the extension from their Chrome browser. If you have the extension running in any browser, I encourage you to uninstall it unless you are comfortable with your information being sold to advertisers and being attributed directly to you.

Antivirus products including Avast, Norton, Mcafee, and Bitdefender have a built-in web browser extension that will do something like WOT.

So does AVG, but their privacy policy discloses that their free version gathers up information and sells it. That’s why I recommended in September 2015 that we stop using AVG Free antivirus..

I am still looking for a free-standing replacement. If you have one you recommend, please share!

Why can’t I use Google in Edge?

You can, but it’s a challenge to set up.

Microsoft’s Edge browser is built into Windows 10. It’s supposed to replace Internet Explorer, which is hidden deep within the Windows 10 Start Menu.

In contrast, Edge is readily available. When you click the blue lower case “e with a mohawk” icon, Edge opens to MSN.com, or a home page for your computer manufacturer. And when you search for something, Edge uses the Bing search engine.

The first thing you need to know is that you are not required to use Edge for anything except downloading a decent browser like Firefox or Chrome.

You can install and use either or both of those in Windows 10. You can also use Internet Explorer if you want. Click on Start, then scroll to Windows Accessories. You’ll see Internet Explorer there. 

If you want to continue using Edge, you can change your start page to whatever you want and your search engine back to Google (or whatever you want).

This is an unnecessarily complicated procedure in comparison to what you need to do to accomplish this in any other browser, so make yourself a cup of coffee and let’s get started.

Change the page you see when you open Edge

  • Open Edge
  • Click on the three dots
  • Click on Settings
  • Scroll to “Open Microsoft Edge with” and click on “A specific page or pages”
  • Type in the URL for the page you want, for instance http://castanet.net/
  • Click on the icon that looks like a floppy disk to save your choice. (Yep. A floppy disk icon.)
  • Use the “+ Add new page” if you want more than one page when you open Edge

Change the search engine from Bing to something else (in this case, Google)

  • Open Edge
  • Click on the three dots
  • Click on Settings
  • Click on “View advanced settings”
  • In the “Search in the address bar with” section, click on “Change Search Engine”
  • Whoops! When you do that, you have no choices — Just Bing (default)
  • So, you have to go to the address bar and type in the search engine you want, for instance, google.ca, and go to that page.
  • Now go back through the steps until you get to “Change Search Engine” and select “Google Search (discovered)”
  • Click on “Set as default”

In my opinion, this is a disgrace. In Firefox, you can change your default search engine in no more than four clicks. You can change your home page in two clicks, or three at most.

Those changes are almost as straightforward in Google Chrome. It seems obvious that Microsoft buried these settings to keep folks from using anything but Bing.

What do you think? Do you use Edge? Do you use Bing?


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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