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Microsoft will force Bing as the default search engine in Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus customers

Bing
Bing (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Office 365 ProPlus users will have Bing become their default search engine in Chrome soon.
  • Microsoft will forcibly install the Microsoft Search in Bing extension on any system with Office 365 ProPlus that doesn't have Bing set as the default search engine.
  • People on Reddit and GitHub expressed frustration with what they call browser hijacking by Microsoft.

Office 365 ProPlus customers will soon have the Microsoft Search in Bing extension forcibly installed in the Chrome browser (via ZDNet). The extension will be installed beginning with Office 365 ProPlus version 2002, which is set to start rolling out in February. The extension will roll out first to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, but other countries will receive it over time. A Microsoft document (opens in new tab) outlines the upcoming change and further explains Microsoft Search in Bing.

The extension allows people to access enterprise search powered by Microsoft Search, including viewing SharePoint suites, OneDrive content, and Microsoft Teams and Yammer conversations. The extension also makes Bing the default search engine for the browser you install the extension on.

While the features provided by Microsoft Search in Bing may be nice in some cases, many people expressed frustration online over the forced switch. A Reddit thread included hundreds of comments on the topic, many of which are negative. People on GitHub expressed similar frustrations. A common phrase people use in these threads is browser hijacking, claiming that Microsoft is trying to force people to use its services by hijacking Google Chrome.

People's main concern seems to be the forced nature of the switch. There are ways to exclude the extension from being installed (opens in new tab) with either the Office Deployment Tool or a Group Policy, but these aren't the same as making it a simple option. ZDNet points out that you can uninstall the extension (opens in new tab) after its forced installation.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

21 Comments
  • Since Google pissed me off with thier product policities i use BING! as my default Search Engine (Mobile, Desktop) and what shall i say ?! BING is better as i thought! Give Bing a chance !!
  • seriously... my kids love to complain that I don't allow them to use "Google" (chrome) because I have employed Microsoft Family safety controls and locked them to using Edge (or even Edge Dev, which I have installed for them) for web browsing, but I have yet to hear a compelling reason that they must have Chrome.
    Also, I am an IT professional who has used Bing exclusively for over 10 years (has it been around that long?) and I have never had an issue finding web content that forced me to use google.
  • Wow, you sound like an awesome dad.
  • I hope that is sarcasm, because most parents today don't even care enough to use parental controls.
  • Since Microsoft pissed me off with thier product policities i use GOOGLE! as my default Search Engine (Mobile, Desktop) and what shall i say ?! GOOGLE is better as i thought! Give Google a chance !!
  • All we are saying.... Is give Bing a chance ...
  • Why? Duckduckgo, Yandex and Startpage are better.
  • You don't seem to grasp the hint.. it's a reference to John Lennon....
  • I don't think they're better, but I certainly like not having my search engine tied to an account t as vast as Microsoft's or Google's. That's why I use duckduckgo. As far as this topic is concerned: So what. It's their product and they integrate, so it kind of makes sense. Nothing is forced. You make that decision when you choose to use Office.
  • Even as a Bing fan, this is a dumb, heavy-handed move that will only create bad PR for MS. Yeah, yeah, I'm sure MS will tell us how via all the telemetry they collect and focus groups and direct conversations that this is what "enterprise wants". Got it, and I bet dollars to donuts, they'll walk it back within weeks of rollout and make it an opt-in or at a minimum, offer a better way to opt-out other than using the Office deployment tool or a GPO.
  • Enterprise actually has the option to turn this off by default if deployed via InTune. The online office configurator for creating volume license installation packages already has the option to disable it as well. User's personal computers will be the ones most affected.
  • I would say, it's all about choices.........for people paying more for the ProPlus features, they must be treated much more better than regular users. 1st class customers get treated completely diff. than coach.
  • Been using Bing now exclusively for over a year now and I got to say it's really good. Give Bing a chance.
  • For those using Bing, make sure you collect the points. Haven't paid for an xbox live subscribtion in awhile.
  • This alone is the reason to use Bing and has been for as long as the reward system exists on Bing...
  • Whatever the case, it's still draconian.
  • Regardless of your thoughts on Bing in general, MS should not be doing this sort of thing. "Browser hijacking" is absolutely right here as it is reminiscent of adware hijacking browser defaults.
  • Lol if they use chrome they deserve to be taught lol... Worst browser out there with safari... Don't understand how people even bother
  • Making the exact same mistakes they made with Windows Phone (forcing Bing for Search instead of letting the user decide.)
    Has anyone told Microsoft that "repeating the same bad behavior and expecting different results" is the very definition of Insanity?
    This BAD decision is to try to drive their Cloud Strategy further, a la Nadela's comments to investors the other day, but it is horribly myopic and arrogant.
    If I cannot CHOOSE what search engine to use (DuckDuckGo) I will avoid MS products.
    Yes, I KNOW the user can change it manually, but 90% of them won't (that is what MS is counting on) or won't be able to figure out how.
    Enterprise Admins are howling about this, with good reason.
    A Terrible idea, if only from the PR optics.
    Someone ought to get slapped up side the head for this decision.
  • however, Office 365 ProPlus is for those that don't want to switch to the real version of O365. It only has basic Office 2016 suite + Sharepoint + Exchange email so that's fine for those people. Everyone else using O365 Personal, Home, Business, Business Premium or Enterprise (E3, E5, E7+) are not affected
  • Typical MS apologist response: it's the customer's fault. And you don't even have your facts correct. ProPlus doesn't have Sharepoint or Exchange. It's the standard Office apps + Access, and now Teams. If anything, it's one of the editions that makes the least sense to force Bing into since it doesn't include as many MS services, which by MS's own admission is how MS search adds more benefits.