Jumping Off Edge’s World

Microsoft’s Edge web browser is a nice, fast option to Internet Explorer’s bloat.  However, it still isn’t a replacement for IE entirely.  For example, you may not be able to access a Microsoft Remote Desktop server using Edge, while Internet Explorer has no problem.  I was surprised, though, how simple things that you can do in other browsers are not only under-the-hood in Edge, but not as easy to customize.  This is how I changed the search to Google.com.

Edge and Geo-Located Search

I live in Canada and do not use Google.ca for my search.  As soon as I install a browser, I change the search bar to use Google.  Normally, Google will then forward my searches to Google.ca or whatever my local Google is if I’m on the road.  But searching from different Google country sites returns different result sets.  For many reasons, I prefer .com.  As I’ve written before, there are ways to set Google.com as your permanent search domain, even if you’re not in the US.

Microsoft Edge’s search settings are non-obvious.  You have to visit the search site in order to add it to Edge.  There is no default picklist of searches.  In this way, it works a bit like open search tools, where you can right-click in a search box to add it to a browser like Mozilla Firefox.

I went to Google.com.  It forwarded to Google.ca.  I typed in Google.com/ncr to enable no-country-redirect.  Google.com refreshed with the new URL (https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl) and I was ready to set it as my default search provider.

Microsoft Edge browser with Google.com and Google.ca as search bar options, despite only being on Google.com
Microsoft Edge browser with Google.com and Google.ca as search bar options, despite only being on Google.com


Edge, however, still listed both Google.ca and Google.com, even though I was only (from the URL) on Google.com.  When I clicked on Google.com to add it as a search engine (and default), you can imagine my surprise when Google.ca appeared in the Edge settings for default search.

Go South, Young Man

By now you may be saying, is it really worth this kind of effort!  As you’re saying that, fire up your VPN client and connect to a server in the US.  Because that was the only way I could find to not only set Google.com to not redirect (/ncr) but also to not propose a geo-located search option as the replacement.  Once I’d set Edge while connected to a US VPN server, it was happy.  Although I can’t remove Google.ca from my list of search engines, Google.com is the default choice.

I miss the flexibility that even Microsoft Internet Explorer had for adding and removing search engines.  In a way it has enabled the ability to add lots of custom search to the bar.  But it has hidden it so well that I’m not sure it will get the use it deserves.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.