May 1, 2021

Download Indicators in Three Browsers

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

For many years, Firefox was my main browser. It has several features that I were very useful to me. After my bad breakup with it, I ended up using a fork known as Waterfox. It has been pretty good, but is not my default browser and more like a utility that I use on occasion. Something I like in FFX and forks is the download indicators. Those in Chromium-based browsers irritate me. Except...

Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos / Stuart Miles
As stated before, I have the perspective of a Windows 10 user, so this article is unhelpful for users with mobile devices. While I use a smartphone, it's a derringer compared to my .44-40 desktop. When I do research and obtain information, I want the downloads on the big gun, not on the little thing where they are inconvenient to obtain.

Many people like to hate Microsoft. I'll allow that they rush things to market before thorough testing (one reason I don't hurry to download new software releases right away), love money too much, and they have some other problems, but the Edge browser has done right by me. It had dubious beginnings as an upgrade of  Internet Explorer, but then they wised up and gave it an overhaul with Chromium browser software.

Edge is also refusing to use the FLoC tracking software that Google is building into the Chrome browser. Just thought I'd mention that.

A couple of innovations were that tabs can be moved to the right instead of the top (perhaps inspired by Vivaldi?), and the more recent relocation of the downloads indicator. Instead of intruding on browser real estate at the bottom, Edge placed it at the top in a manner similar to Firefox and its forks. Instead of having to close it out like on other Chromium browsers, just click somewhere on the page and it respectfully goes away. Want it back? In the menu, or CTRL+J.

What is shown below is an assemblage of three screenshots. Each was taken immediately after a download. The first part was done in the Avast browser, the second was Waterfox, and the third using Edge. (Waterfox asked if I wanted to replace the existing file, but Edge and Avast simply add (1), (2), and so on.) Positions are not exactly representative of what other people will see.

Although some people like to hate Microsoft, a recent change in the Edge browser makes the downloads indicator less obtrusive.
Click for larger
Inspiration and competition may be at play here. Users will need to make adjustments to control their privacy on any browser, so it's up to them to use due diligence to ensure that they are not broadcasting personal information to the parent companies and sponsors. It is probably best to find more recent articles (such as this one on Edge from 2020) because browsers are constantly updating.

I feel the need to add that I do not let browsers store passwords (preferring a password safe/manager for that), and disabled the coupon and promo code settings in Edge. That's part of the beauty of browser settings and customization instead of a "take it or leave it" approach.

By the way, users can get extensions from Microsoft or grab them from the Chrome store. Kind of ironic to use Chrome extensions in Avast, Brave, Vivaldi, Edge — and Waterfox is working on it.

A few added tidbits here. The main point is that Edge did something I like very much by moving the downloads indicator out of the way, and it can be made to amscray. Competition, innovation, and choice are beneficial to users.

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