Microsoft’s browser rivals aren’t happy after it made switching defaults easier

Microsoft's rivals have hit back against the company's recent change to its stance on picking a default browser

The company that got into so much trouble in the 1990s for trying to squeeze rivals made an interesting change with Windows 11: obscuring the option to change the default browser, limiting it to only technically capable users and the very motivated. 

Anyone using Windows 10 could easily change the default with a single click, something that a lot of people did. But that all changed for anyone updating to Microsoft's latest OS. 

All change

While Edge isn't a bad browser, making it the default and then hiding the settings to change that does kind of stink, a point made loudly by its rivals. 

Microsoft even took it a step further and began funnelling links from its services, including the Start Menu, into Edge as well. 

All of that changed in a recent update, however, when Microsoft reintroduced an easy one-click process for changing the default – but instead of being pleased, some of the biggest names in the browser market have now hit back.

Old grudges, widely held

Speaking to The Register, Microsoft's rivals were still not happy with the company and its attempts to make Edge into a dominant browser.

“It has always been our stance that Microsoft, and others like them, should make it easy for users to choose to use the products that suit them,” said Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner. “This should apply to all users, not just the ones who are technically competent enough to realize that they need to install an optional update, and know how to actually do so. It should be installed for all users.” 

“While they have made an attempt, the fact that it has been done the way it has leads to the assumption that it is only being done to avoid being prosecuted for anticompetitive behavior, not to actually solve the underlying problem.”

Mozilla, which actually found a way around the changes, was similarly critical.

“People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults and all operating systems should offer official developer support for default status,” the company said.

“In practice, we'd like to also see progress on reducing the number of steps required to set a new browser as default, and on opening and making APIs available for apps to set default that other Microsoft applications use.”

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Microsoft’s browser rivals aren’t happy after it made switching defaults easier

Microsoft's rivals have hit back against the company's recent change to its stance on picking a default browser

The company that got into so much trouble in the 1990s for trying to squeeze rivals made an interesting change with Windows 11: obscuring the option to change the default browser, limiting it to only technically capable users and the very motivated. 

Anyone using Windows 10 could easily change the default with a single click, something that a lot of people did. But that all changed for anyone updating to Microsoft's latest OS. 

All change

While Edge isn't a bad browser, making it the default and then hiding the settings to change that does kind of stink, a point made loudly by its rivals. 

Microsoft even took it a step further and began funnelling links from its services, including the Start Menu, into Edge as well. 

All of that changed in a recent update, however, when Microsoft reintroduced an easy one-click process for changing the default – but instead of being pleased, some of the biggest names in the browser market have now hit back.

Old grudges, widely held

Speaking to The Register, Microsoft's rivals were still not happy with the company and its attempts to make Edge into a dominant browser.

“It has always been our stance that Microsoft, and others like them, should make it easy for users to choose to use the products that suit them,” said Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner. “This should apply to all users, not just the ones who are technically competent enough to realize that they need to install an optional update, and know how to actually do so. It should be installed for all users.” 

“While they have made an attempt, the fact that it has been done the way it has leads to the assumption that it is only being done to avoid being prosecuted for anticompetitive behavior, not to actually solve the underlying problem.”

Mozilla, which actually found a way around the changes, was similarly critical.

“People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults and all operating systems should offer official developer support for default status,” the company said.

“In practice, we'd like to also see progress on reducing the number of steps required to set a new browser as default, and on opening and making APIs available for apps to set default that other Microsoft applications use.”

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Twitter down: social media website and app aren’t working – again

It feels like every other week that the internet breaks – you've guessed it (from the headline), Twitter is down.

The social media giant is unavailable to loads of users – trying to access the web page brings up the message “Something went wrong. Try reloading.”, and the app won't refresh with newer tweets.

Reports on downdetector.co.uk jumped up into the thousands within minutes of the outage – it's worth pointing out that, while the reports also rose on downdetector.com (in the US), they didn't rise by nearly as much.

It sounds like a limited issue, as lots of TechRadar team members haven't had an issue. Saying that the sheer number of Downdetector reports shows that something is up.

Not only is the main Twitter feed down, but other Twitter sites are down too, like its Help site.

We just wanted to post a funny joke, and now we've discovered that Twitter isn't working. We're investigating.

Judging by reports from Downdetector and TechRadar's US team, the outage is affecting far fewer people in the US than in the UK – it seems mainly a British problem. Well, we can add that to the list after Freddos costing more, Magnums getting smaller and the whole cost of living thing.

In the UK, DownDetector reports more than 4,000 reports in the last few minutes. That's a huge number given how many we normally see – even for the major outages that affect multiple websites, we usually see one or two thousand reports.

This outage has come less than six weeks after the last Twitter outage.

That was a smaller one, as the main Twitter feed would load, but Tweets wouldn't – so you could see them, but not click on them or interact with them. 

Now, you can't see anything – it's radio silence.

Usually when there's an internet outage, people turn to Twitter to look for answers. That's… a little harder now.

We looked at Facebook, but Twitter itself hasn't posted there for several months. Last time it did, it was a screenshot of a Tweet about cats. What is this, 2007?

Facebook is a bit more community-focused though, so it's harder to see what people in the wider world are saying.

Reddit to the rescue though:

is_twitter_down_for_anyone_else_in_uk from r/Twitter

There's no official comment, but there are people from around the world commenting to say that Reddit isn't working for them.

Unfortunately, because Reddit's support and news room sites are all hosted by the media giant itself, they're not working either.

We're seeing a growing number of reports of outages from the US, but TechRadar's team based there hasn't seen anything.

It's likely that a server in Europe is at fault, which is why it's so much more of an issue for our UK readers than our US ones.

But we're waiting to find out from Twitter to see what's going on.

Oppo Find X5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Reports are well over 4,000 at the moment.

For context, the baseline is 3. That's a big difference.

Oh wait – Twitter is back! (for me at least)

This suggests the end of the outage could be here – just in time for you to return to work after your lunch break. What bad luck.

DownDetector reports for Twitter problems are finally going down – it looks like the outage could really be over.

It's not a steep plummet of reports, which suggests some people are still finding problems with their desktop site or phone app, but this at least tells us that the initial problem is being solved.

We've been looking to see if Twitter itself has commented on the outage – so far we can't see anything from any of its official accounts.

Saying that, it's got about a billion of its own accounts for different regions, aspects of the site and more, so it's very possible that one of them has posted, and we just haven't found it yet.

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Developers really aren’t loving GitHub’s new algorithmic For You feed

Change is always difficult – big and small – especially when it's forced upon you by a giant corporation. That's what some developers on GitHub are finding out, at least, after the company introduced a personalised For You feed. 

As spotted by The Register, the For You algorithm-based feed hasn't gone down particularly well. The top-voted post from the past few days, with 211 upvotes, simply states: “I don't want algorithmic feed” before listing some reasons. 

The sentiment is echoed elsewhere. All but the third most upvoted post criticised the new For You feed.

All change

“I don't think Github needs facebook/instagram like features,” wrote one user. “I personally don't care about what people like/fork, and i don't want people to know what i do either, i just need a better search and better tagging system so i can search for libraries/projects based on MY SEARCH and MY INTERESTS, not based on a biased one developed with AI. what's next? stories?”

“Please don't turn GitHub into Facebook,” writes another. “Please give me an option to completely disable the algorithmic feed and only have the relevant, chronological feed, only from users I follow and repos I participate in.”

It's not all bad, though. A post with 64 upvotes praises the For You feed, writing, “I Love the new idea of for you, good luck.” 

Analysis: Give it some time?

Over time, people often become accustomed to change.

Back in 2006, Facebook introduced News Feed to its users, opening them up to increased sharing of their activities. Users revolted against the change, leading to a direct apology from Mark Zuckerberg. 

People came to accept it and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The same will likely be the case for GitHub: the resource is so useful that most developers have few other options and changes like this, even with large pushback from its user base, are probably here to stay. 

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Developers really aren’t loving GitHub’s new algorithmic For You feed

Change is always difficult – big and small – especially when it's forced upon you by a giant corporation. That's what some developers on GitHub are finding out, at least, after the company introduced a personalised For You feed. 

As spotted by The Register, the For You algorithm-based feed hasn't gone down particularly well. The top-voted post from the past few days, with 211 upvotes, simply states: “I don't want algorithmic feed” before listing some reasons. 

The sentiment is echoed elsewhere. All but the third most upvoted post criticised the new For You feed.

All change

“I don't think Github needs facebook/instagram like features,” wrote one user. “I personally don't care about what people like/fork, and i don't want people to know what i do either, i just need a better search and better tagging system so i can search for libraries/projects based on MY SEARCH and MY INTERESTS, not based on a biased one developed with AI. what's next? stories?”

“Please don't turn GitHub into Facebook,” writes another. “Please give me an option to completely disable the algorithmic feed and only have the relevant, chronological feed, only from users I follow and repos I participate in.”

It's not all bad, though. A post with 64 upvotes praises the For You feed, writing, “I Love the new idea of for you, good luck.” 

Analysis: Give it some time?

Over time, people often become accustomed to change.

Back in 2006, Facebook introduced News Feed to its users, opening them up to increased sharing of their activities. Users revolted against the change, leading to a direct apology from Mark Zuckerberg. 

People came to accept it and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The same will likely be the case for GitHub: the resource is so useful that most developers have few other options and changes like this, even with large pushback from its user base, are probably here to stay. 

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Microsoft Outlook will alert you if your emails aren’t up to standard

Microsoft is preparing to roll out a new feature for email service Outlook that will give users a chance to assess the suitability of their messages before sending.

As explained in a new entry to the company’s product roadmap, Outlook users will soon gain access to an upgraded version of the MailTips help service. Available from July onwards, the new-look tool will notify people if their emails do not live up to accessibility standards.

“Users will see a MailTip in Outlook recommending to fix accessibility issues before sending email messages to large [groups], external users, or for any messages marked as ‘high importance’. The MailTip will show up at the top of the email compose window,” explained Microsoft.

Outlook accessibility

With a larger proportion of collaboration taking place over email and cloud-based office software since the start of the pandemic, the need for workers to ensure their communications meet accessibility standards has only become more acute.

However, it’s not always easy to remember to perform accessibility checks in the heat of a busy working day. And in some instances, it may be unclear precisely what can be done to make an email more accessible. The upcoming update for MailTips in Outlook should help address both of these problems.

“By creating and sending accessible emails, you ensure that recipients can access, read and use the information they contain,” said Microsoft, in a separate explainer.

“We are expanding the functionality [of MailTips] to automatically prompt you when an accessibility violation is detected while composing an email to large audiences or external users, for example, and help you fix the issue.”

There are a number of ways to configure the new feature, which can be switched on permanently, activated only in certain scenarios (e.g. when a recipient has registered specific accessibility needs), or turned off until a manual accessibility check is performed.

The Outlook announcement follows on from a separate update for Microsoft Office, which serves a related purpose. As detailed in a blog post from January, Microsoft 365 customers can now use a new Accessibility Reminder add-on for Word, Excel and PowerPoint to notify colleagues of any additional needs they may have.

The idea was to create a non-confrontational way for someone to remind co-workers of their accessibility needs that didn’t involve sending out a dedicated email or instant message.

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