Why was the selection tool taken away and replaced with a masking tool (that I almost never use)? The selction tool was very useful to alter portions of a photograph. Masking is irrelevant. Adobe did the very nerdy thing by taking away something that's useful and that works and replaced it with something irrelevant. Programmers always feel the need to change things, even when they work just fine. So how do I get back the use of the selection tool? Not in Photoshop....Adobe Bridge. Very simple point, click, and drag the area of interest. Then apply changes (i.e. brightness, contrast, etc).
Bridge is not a photo editor, there is no selection tool. Are you referring to the Camera Raw plugin which can be accessed via Bridge? ACR has just been updated to V14.0. If it is not to your taste then you will have to downgrade to an earlier version but you will also need to downgrade Bridge and Photoshop to preserve compatibility.
Masks is a poor choice of names for the major upgraded "selection" tools but I have to admit, I've been unable to come up with a better name.
This new feature (and it is a major upgrade benefit feature) is available in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom Desktop and Lightroom Classic. There are some subtle differences between the three but the basic workflow is all the same. I'm liking to Matt Kloskowsi's video explaining how to use it in Lightroom Classic but pay no mind to the application because, again, it's essentially the same in ACR as well. (ACR is what is actually doing the work when you access it from Bridge.)
If you want a written explanation, check out what's in the Lightroom Queen. Again, she's talking about how this works in Lightroom, it's essentially the same thing as ACR. Just scroll down a bit.
Please let me know if you now see the advantages from what we had before.
A mask is a saved selection. And ACR is not Bridge, just accessed via Bridge.