Is Google trying to make it easier to set Chrome as the default browser on Windows 11?

Arif Bacchus

Switching default browsers on Windows 11 has been a really controversial thing. Microsoft originally made it a cumbersome process, having to require you to switch file associations manually, but facing backlash, changes later came to switch it more easily via a single click. The makers of Firefox and Vivaldi still didn’t think that was enough, though, and maybe now Google has entered the fray. A rumor could possibly be showing the company is thinking of ways to set Chrome as the default browser from directly within the browser itself (via Neowin.)

Fueling this new rumor is a post from Leopeva64-2 on Reddit. The Redditor casts some doubt on this and isn’t 100% sure, but mentioned that based on a new commit in the Gerrit reposittories, Google could be working on the option to set Chrome as the default browser directly from the browser Settings page. Leopeva64-2 also believed that these changes could just “improve” setting Chrome as the default browser, without adding an option within Chrome itself. So, this is something that’s very uncertain.

Anyway, per that commit, here’s how Google might be avoiding Windows 11’s or Windows 10’s settings app to set Chrome as default in a single click. (Spoiler, it is quite similar to what Firefox has done.)

Make Chrome the default browser. This function works by going through the url protocols and file associations that are related to general browsing, e.g. http, https, .html etc., and directly setting the relevant registry entries for each.

Again, this isn’t something that the Redditor is solid on, and this should just be treated as a rumor. Leopeva64-2 says that it is not possible to reset the change in the Canary Channel, as there’s no “make default” button, but this might eventually roll down into the Dev version in a few days.