Microsoft is known for rolling out products like its Edge web browser and Bing search engine right under our noses at every opportunity we get. But some people are just discovering that the software giant is happy to pay users to use its services, for example by offering Minecraft "Minecoins" to users who make the switch, a marketing tactic that appears to be aimed at a younger audience.

Getting paid to use Edge or Bing is nothing new: Microsoft Rewards has been around for a few years, rewarding users with points for using the products over an extended period of time.

Right now, the Microsoft Rewards website (opens in a new tab) says that you can earn five points per Bing search, and those points can be redeemed for other rewards like gift cards or coupons to various retailers like Starbucks or Amazon.

This isn't even the first time Microsoft has tried to use the game to entice Windows 10 and Windows 11 users to jump ship, as points can be redeemed for Xbox gift cards, Game Pass Ultimate, and even more. in-game currencies as like the ones in Roblox. Robux', and it's worth mentioning that Microsoft Rewards has been offering Minecraft-related content for some time.

Reddit user u/TrueTech0 posted a screenshot of a marketing box on the PCMR forum showing that in this case, you will be rewarded with 330 Minecoins if you join the rewards program and use the Bing browser on Edge for five days.

microsoft_are_literally_paying_you_to_use_edge from r/pcmasterrace

These “Minecoins” are used to purchase custom content on the Minecraft Marketplace, but only if you are using the Bedrock version of the game. For Java users, you can modify the game for free with online downloads, which Bedrock users can do. I don't, but Bedrock does have some advantages, namely lower ray tracing capabilities and system requirements.

This also means that Bedrock's player base tends to be younger than the Java servers, given that the game will run on just about anything. But while the marketing of software to kids using in-app coins seems like an immediate red flag, there is a gray area in all of this. After all, plenty of adults also play Minecraft and Roblox, but it's hard to see that it won't appeal to kids who don't have access to real money to buy in-game currency.

Data is a girl's best friend.

Microsoft Rewards won't give you real money, so imagine it's Vbucks or something. (Image credit: Shutterstock/pathdoc)

Microsoft isn't trying to market these rewards to kids as a creepy supervillain; After all, marketing is marketing, and it doesn't stop when it comes to children's interests, as we can see from other ads in the industry, from cereal and fast food to YouTube channels.

However, this begs the question: what does Microsoft gain by claiming market share in a free service? The answer is really simple: it is information.

Your data is valuable, so it's no surprise that Google and Microsoft are so committed to user retention, but this kind of marketing is unlikely to be harmful in any way, even if it seems morally ambiguous. . Google Chrome also collects some of your data, as almost all other web browsers do, unless you find a specialized one to prevent this from happening or disable data sync in settings, optionally.

Younger children may also not have the technical skills to follow the on-screen instructions to make the switch. But given how quickly they can figure out how to use the devices, I wouldn't say it's really preventative: I distinctly remember setting up proxies to access flash games on my school computers when I was just hitting puberty, and Microsoft easily guides that. making a change if you read any of your marketing materials.

There's probably nothing to worry about

Microsoft Edge browser on laptop

Edge really isn't getting the love it deserves due to its improvements over the last couple of months. (Image credit: Shutterstock.com/monticello)

Still, I'm hesitant to vilify Microsoft for all of this, because it doesn't really go above and beyond what its competitors do when it comes to data collection; the only difference is that you can retrieve something, presumably for free if not. I don't think your data has any value.

Microsoft rewards are for US residents only (excluding Puerto Rico), but if you're happy to install the Edge web browser and set your default search engine to Bing, you can earn a modest amount of money (in the form of coupon) simply by using your device. as usual.

If you allow younger children to access your personal devices, make sure you have parental filters or settings in place, because Bing is well known as the browser of choice for finding… uh, adult content, and those rewards will be tied to your personal. Microsoft account.

There's the added bonus that Edge is actually a fantastic web browser these days, especially if you're migrating from Chrome: they both run on Chromium, so they support a lot of the same extensions, and Edge doesn't take up your memory, so that much.

Remember, this is a personal choice of the best browsers and search engines to install, so don't let Microsoft's heavy-handed marketing tactics push you into anything unless you want to get paid at some point.

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