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Smart 💡 Idea: use Automatic Profile Switching in Edge to create a Container like experience

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Honored Contributor

The description for containers or multi-containers in Firefox is this:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/containers

 

Multi-Account Containers is a Firefox add-on that lets you separate your work, shopping or personal browsing without having to clear your history, log in and out, or use multiple browsers. It's an improved version of the Containers feature built into Firefox Nightly and the completed Firefox Containers Test Pilot experiment.

 

What are Containers?

Container tabs are like normal tabs except that the sites you visit will have access to a separate slice of the browser's storage. This means your site preferences, logged in sessions, and advertising tracking data won't carry over to the new container. Likewise, any browsing you do within the new container will not affect your logged in sessions, or tracking data of your other containers.

 

 

Back to the Microsoft, in Edge browser, we have profiles, we can create multiple profiles and give them custom names

 

hhhhh.png

 

we can create offline profiles or we can connect those profiles to online Microsoft accounts (free or work accounts)

 

 

Edge also has other features (in Canary and Dev channels at the moment of writing this)

  1. Automatic profile switching
  2. Multiple profile preferences

hgfhg.png

 

the description text says:

 

 

Automatic profile switching feature detects links being opened in incorrect Microsoft account profiles and guides users to correct work, school or personal profile by showing a prompt that lets user switch to correct profile.

 

So, now consider all that's been said above, there is an opportunity here. Microsoft Edge already has the base and fundamental features to have a container experience, the only things left to be done are some tweaking.

 

How?

 

Container/multi-container in Firefox is basically an add-on. I've been testing Firefox nightly in the past few months as my default browser and used containers extensively, I've also been using Edge browser and multiple profiles and I'm 100% sure this can happen.

 

Microsoft (i.e Edge browser team) kindly need to improve the Automatic profile switching. so what I mean is, this feature that can already detect links and switch/open them in a different/correct profile, now it needs to Also be able to switch/open links that the user manually specifies.

 

Edge team need to simplify the profiles that are going to be used for container.

the profiles used for containers need to share the same installed extensions, favorites, history etc but when it comes to cookies, site cache etc they should be isolated.

 

So for Example, I want all of the links coming from Facebook.com domain to be opened in a profile that's named "Facebook". I want all of the links coming from Twitter.com domain to be opened in a profile called "Twitter" and so on.

this is Exactly how multi-container in Firefox works, users specifies a list of addresses and websites and they are automatically opened in their own container, separate from the other containers and the main browsing session, but still in the same window. each container is opened as a tab, next to other tabs, Not in a separate window.

 

so one of the tweaks that I mentioned that need to happen is that Edge should let us open links from different profiles in the same window. currently it can't and each profile is opened in a separate window.

 

so once Edge is able to open Tabs belonging to different profiles in the same window (next to other tabs), those tabs can be colored and marked with a feature that is already available in Edge, called "Tab Groups", the job of which is to put different tabs together and give them a specific color and name.

 

fdsfsd.png

 

in the screenshot above, I'm showing the end goal and what I hope to happen.

so the group "Facebook" with the Cyan color means those tabs belong to a Different profile in Edge that is called "Facebook, but are in the same Edge window next to other tabs that belong to other profiles.

 

I really believe this is totally possible and achievable. let me know what you think and if there is something that can improve this in case I missed it, please comment down below. thank you

 

@fawkes @MissyQ 

please review and let the team know? :folded_hands:

 

5 Replies
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@HotCakeX in my opinion, profiles seem too bloated for this simple functionality, plus they are bound to the whole user's data, profile data, passwords, favorites, etc. etc..  its not simply the matter of allowing tabs from multiple profiles in a single windows, but profiles have much bigger ramifications in edge.

 

this is at least what it seems to me.  maybe there is a better and cleaner solution to this.  there are already some chrome extensions that are trying to accomplish what firefox containers do.

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@ali-khawaja 

Spoiler

@ali-khawaja wrote:

@HotCakeXin my opinion, profiles seem too bloated for this simple functionality, plus they are bound to the whole user's data, profile data, passwords, favorites, etc. etc..  its not simply the matter of allowing tabs from multiple profiles in a single windows, but profiles have much bigger ramifications in edge.

 

this is at least what it seems to me.  maybe there is a better and cleaner solution to this.  there are already some chrome extensions that are trying to accomplish what firefox containers do.


Hi,

I see "containers" differently. I think we shouldn't see how containers work in Firefox and then try to exactly mimic it in Edge. first we need to see the idea behind it and what the goal is. the goal is to let users have separate isolated sessions of browser to access websites that are not able to talk back to other browsing sessions. that's the idea.

 

right now that I'm using Firefox nightly 76 and set some websites like Twitter to be automatically opened in a container, I see the behavior is the same as if i used Twitter in a different profile in Firefox.

it's completely isolated. Twitter cache, cookies etc are all Inaccessible from my main profile.

 

when I mentioned there needs to be some tweaks, I meant that Edge team need to simplify the profiles that are going to be used for container. (i obviously didn't mean the current state of profiles in Edge is ready for this).

for example the profiles used for containers need to share the same installed extensions, favorites, history etc but when it comes to cookies, site cache etc they should be isolated.

 

or they can just forget about this and make their own system of container

https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers

 

either way this is an idea that Has the potential to happen

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yes agreed, something should happen, whatever the route they choose. i like the new edge, but i am using firefox mostly due to the containers.
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Nice, with all the data gatherings going on around us, it's good to have some controls over the websites
https://www.privacytools.io/
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@HotCakeX 

 

"we need to see the idea behind it and what the goal is. the goal is to let users have separate isolated sessions of browser to access websites that are not able to talk back to other browsing sessions."

 

Spot on. From the perspective of "how containers work in Firefox", I would want the "isolated sessions of browser" to be across tabs in the same browser instance as opposed to a separate instance for each isolated session. Other than that. exactly mimicking Firefox containers should not be the goal. Aim higher, for sure!

 

When pondering the needs of a user that already has multiple email accounts (personal, school, work, etc.) then "profile switching" would seem to be a value add. However, if you want to provide equal functionality ("separate isolated sessions of browser to access websites that are not able to talk back to other browsing sessions.") to a user with a single profile, in a single browser instance, then profile switching, as it works today, misses the mark. However, as you suggest, what is already being done today suggests that a much less convoluted approach to the functionality we are seeking should be possible.