Microsoft Edge is adding a new feature to prevent online tracking by third-party websites. Notably, the new move comes just days after Mozilla added an Enhanced Tracking Protection feature to its Firefox Web browser. Microsoft has initially brought its native tracking prevention to Edge preview builds. The latest addition is touted "to protect you from being tracked by websites that you aren't accessing directly" by offering tracking prevention in three different levels. The Redmond giant demonstrated its tracking prevention feature at Build 2019 conference in Seattle last month.
Insiders on the Microsoft Edge version 188.8.131.52 that is available through the Canary channel can experience the tracking prevention feature. Once you're on the latest preview build, you'll be required to manually enable the feature by entering "edge://flags#edge-tracking-prevention" in the address bar. You'll then be required to choose Enabled from the dropdown and relaunch the browser.
The privacy settings page of the Edge browser provides you with the ability to control the level of prevention once the fresh experiment is enabled. By default, the feature is set at the Balanced level that blocks third-party trackers and known malicious trackers. You can, however, customise tracking prevention by setting the feature to Strict that is claimed to block the majority of third-party trackers or pick the Basic level of prevention that only blocks malicious trackers.
"When blocking a tracker, we aim to stop it from accessing previously stored tracking information and storing new tracking information. When tracking resources don't add meaningful functionality to the page, we may even block them entirely," the Microsoft Edge team explained in a blog post.
Microsoft lists the number of trackers blocked on a page that can be viewed by clicking the page info button next to the URL in the address bar. You can also change the tracking prevention setting on a site by site basis by clicking the page info button.
"We are currently experimenting with ways to provide even greater privacy protection by investigating opportunities to expand the types of trackers we block for you," the team stated.
Specifically for enterprise customers, Microsoft is experimenting with exposing policies. The company is also in plans to take into account your recent interactions with sites to add tracking prevention under the Balanced level.
Microsoft first demonstrated its tracking prevention feature at Build 2019 last month. "We recognise that most users don't know they're being tracked," Chuck Friedman, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Edge, had said during his Build presentation last month. "They get a sense of it and we want to be able to explain it to them."
Microsoft is providing tracking prevention initially on the Canary build of Microsoft Edge version 184.108.40.206 that is limited to Windows systems. However, it does have plans to bring a similar experience for macOS users through the next update to the Canary channel.
As we mentioned, Mozilla earlier this month added the Enhanced Tracking Protection feature to its Firefox browser to deliver a similar experience. The feature was announced last year and is enabled by default.