Cortana's an impressive virtual assistant, but when it doesn't know an answer it turns to Bing. We know you might not be a Bing fan, so here's how to get Cortana in Windows 10 to consult Google instead.

Strategically located in the Taskbar next to the Start button, Cortana can help you with virtually anything you need. Whenever you need assistance, Cortana can provide instant answers to common questions, help you to send or reply text messages from your PC through your Windows 10 Mobile handset or Android phone (using the Cortana app), track packages, manage your calendar, find files and folders in your computer or the cloud, and a lot more.

However, when Cortana can't provide an answer to a query, by default, it opens the Microsoft Edge browser and performs a Bing search instead. While Bing search results are good, many users would prefer using Google as their default engine for web searches.

Unfortunately, the nature of Bing being the engine running Cortana, it doesn't allow Microsoft to offer a setting to change which search engine to use to perform web searches. However, if you're a Chrome web browser user that also happens to like Google search results, you can use an extension to make it all happen.

The workaround involves using Chrome as your default web browser and installing a simple extension.

Getting Google Chrome web browser

If you haven't done it already, you'll need download and install Chrome on your computer.

  1. Head over the Chrome home page and click the Download Chrome button.

  2. If you check the Set Google Chrome as my default browser option, you can skip the "Setting Chrome as your default web browser" steps, and you can continue with extension installation instructions after you complete installing Chrome. Now click Accept and Install to download the installation file (ChromeSetup.exe).

  3. Go to your download folder (typically C:\Users\YourUserName\Downloads) and double-click ChromeSetup.exe to complete the installation of Chrome. When Chrome is ready to use, you will see the "Installation complete" message.

Setting Chrome as your default web browser

Making Chrome your default browser is very straightforward, just follow the steps below:

  1. Use the Windows Key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to System > Default apps.
  3. Under Web browser, click the current default web browser, and choose Google Chrome from the list.

Forcing Cortana to use Google instead of Bing for search

The last thing you need to do is to install and configure the Chrometana extension. To do this follow the steps below:

  1. Visit the Chrome Web Store to download Chrometana using this link.
  2. Next, click the Add to Chrome blue button in the top-right corner of the extension main page.

  3. A popup message will now appear requiring you to confirm extension installation, just click Add extension to complete the install.

  4. Now, you will be redirected to the extension's settings page. Here, select Google to change the engine that provides search results when using Cortana.

Now you should be able to ask Cortana anything, and if it can't provide a straight answer, the assistant should now open Chrome and offer a Google search result instead of using Bing.

It's worth pointing out that Chrometana doesn't actually change any of Cortana's settings in Windows 10. Instead, when the web query gets passed to Chrome, Chrometana grabs the Bing query and converts it into a Google search query.

Also, other Cortana features, such as instant answers, package and fly tracking, news, weather, and various other functionalities will continue to be handled by Bing.

Finally, while Chrometana works in combination with Chrome, you don't need to have the browser running all the time, as the extension will continue to run in the background even though Google's web browser is not open.

Do you think Cortana should include an option to let users decide how web searches are handled in Windows 10? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

More resources

Don't forget that you can check the following resources to learn about Windows 10: