I thought we were over this. I thought that once we were done with trying to get everyone and their dog to take up the offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10, that Microsoft would be done with thrusting their digital wares in our faces, but, according to Myce, users now have to contend with pop-ups if they have Google’s Chrome browser installed.
Microsoft has started to advertise its Personal Shopping Assistant (PSA) extension for Chrome by persistently shoving a notification above the Chrome icon (if users have it pinned), stating "Quickly compare prices onling. Get Microsoft’s Personal Shopping Assistant for Chrome". The add-on has been around for about a year, but a recent update is triggering the spamming of the message.
Should this be intentional it would appear to be something of a change of tact from the Redmond company that had previously focussed on convincing Chrome users to switch to Edge. It would appear that Microsoft now hopes instead to convince Chrome users to at least use a Microsoft-developed extension.
The extension itself is available for Chrome, Edge, Opera and Firefox. Microsoft’s PSA is able to organise visited product pages, favourite products, notify users on price changes and compare products across sellers. It is currently installed by around 11,500 users.
As you’d expect, Chrome users aren’t too happy with this, with the Chrome Web Store being flooded with complaints about the extension, with even Engadget calling it a "crappy price comparison app".
There are several possible outcomes that some have come up with – all of which are particularly anti-consumer. Engadget fears that this could lead to a future where Microsoft could charge extra for an ad-free Windows, similar to what YouTube did with YouTube Red; while Thurrott suggests that Microsoft could potentially give third-pary advertisers acces to this API and open the floodgates to even more pop-up ads within the Windows OS.