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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Microsoft Is Forcibly Removing Internet Explorer From Your PC

Microsoft's Internet Explorer deserved to die. Or at least to be put out of its misery. The 27-year-old browser has long been bogged down by performance and security problems, and Microsoft has fully moved on to its Edge browser. (While nearly everyone else has moved on to Google Chrome.)

Microsoft officially murdered the beleaguered IE last year, though its ghostly presence still lingers on Windows PCs around the world. In an effort to scrape up the remains, Microsoft has now begun automatically removing instances of Internet Explorer from users’ computers. A software update to the Edge browser that began rolling out this week will permanently disable Internet Explorer 11 on any Windows computer that still has it installed.

In some ways, it is a fitting end. Microsoft had a habit of forcing Internet Explorer into nearly everything, to the point where the practice sparked a federal antitrust suit against the company in 1998. Going in and forcibly removing the software feels like a characteristically overbearing end to the cycle.

Of course, all things are just made of stardust, and the fragmented remains of Internet Explorer will continue on in some form or another. Visual elements of the browser like its icons and shortcuts will remain on desktops until a Windows update due later this year zaps those too, and Microsoft says it will support some basic compatibility features with Internet Explorer within the Edge browser until 2029.

Here's some other tech news.

Instagram Channels

Instagram is getting a new broadcast feature called Channels that allows individual accounts to send messages directly to followers who opt in. Instagram parent company Meta announced the feature (itself a clone of a similar feature in Telegram) this week, with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg showing off the first instance of it.

Channels work like a sort of one-way group chat. One account posts the content, be that a photo, video, or text message, and followers can respond with emoji reactions or answer polls. The feature is in early testing right now, with only a few users able to experiment with it. Channels are also available via Facebook Messenger, again in limited early testing.

Minecrocs

Where is your god now? Minecraft-themed Crocs are real.

“Craft as you are in complete Crocs Comfort,” cries the collaboration’s chaotic commercial copy.

Also announced on Microsoft’s official website, the famously fashion-adjacent shoe brand has partnered with the voxel crafting game to produce four pairs of shoes, from elevated clogs to simple slides. The comfy kicks sport Minecraft’s distinctive green-and-brown color palette and can come with detachable charms in the shape of classic Minecraft characters like “Steve” and “pig.” They are both real and available for purchase.

Gettin’ Chatty 

If you’ve spent more than one second on the internet this week, you’ll have noticed the chatbots are everywhere. They’re generating endless art and conversation and inspiring packed conferences filled with marketing evangelism and cringey freestyle raps about AI. Chatbots can now even help with online search and occasionally succumb to existential panic attacks in the process. (They’re just like us!)

Microsoft revitalized its floundering Bing search engine by deploying a generative AI bot to guide people through search. Not to be outdone, Google rushed to announce its own search bot called Bard. It’s the biggest rivalry so far in the increasingly competitive AI ecosystem.

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