Microsoft will install a Bing Search extension in Chrome on some customer systems

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 23, 2020
Google Chrome, Search

Microsoft revealed today that it plans to install an extension in Google Chrome called Microsoft Search in Bing for some customers that will make Bing the default search engine in the browser automatically.

The move, which may remind some users of tactics used by the "old" Microsoft, forces Microsoft's extension on systems of Office 365 ProPlus users in select locations (according to Microsoft, in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, United Kingdom and United States).

To give one example: Microsoft installed an extension in Firefox in 2010 automatically, also linked to the Bing Search engine, with an update for the company's Windows operating system.

microsoft search in bing

The company points out that customers may start to "take advantage of Microsoft Search" when Bing is the default search engine so that they may "access relevant workplace information" directly in the browser's address bar.

By making Bing the default search engine, users in your organization with Google Chrome will be able to take advantage of Microsoft Search, including being able to access relevant workplace information directly from the browser address bar. Microsoft Search is part of Microsoft 365 and is turned on by default for all Microsoft apps that support it.

Starting with Office 365 ProPlus 2002, out in February/March, Microsoft Search in Bing will be installed in Chrome automatically. Microsoft notes that the extension will be installed when users install Office 365 ProPlus or when existing installations are upgraded.

Administrators who don't want this to happen can prevent the installation easily according to Microsoft, and if it is installed already, it is easy enough to stop using Bing as the default search engine as well (there is a toggle to use the previous default search engine again).

Admins may run the following command to remove the extension again:

  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\DefaultPackPC\MainBootStrap.exe uninstallAll

Administrators may use these instructions to block Microsoft Search in Bing from being installed; instructions to block the installation using the Office Deployment Tool, Group Policy, or Configuration Manager are provided.

Admins may set the value in the Registry to block the installation:

  1. Use Windows-R to open the run box.
  2. Type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key.
  3. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\office\16.0\common\officeupdate
  4. Right-click on officeupdate and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name it preventbinginstall
  6. Set its value to 1

Closing Words

It is one thing to make customers aware of new functionality that they may not be aware of, another to make changes forcefully in third-party programs that may affect user workflows or preferences. It is likely going to backfire on Microsoft.

Users who set Bing as the default in Chrome don't need the extension as they are all set up already. The extension won't be installed in this case.

Now you: what is your take on Microsoft's strategy to get customers to use Bing / Microsoft Search?

Microsoft will install a Bing Search extension in Chrome on some customer systems
Article Name
Microsoft will install a Bing Search extension in Chrome on some customer systems
Microsoft revealed today that it plans to install an extension in Google Chrome called Microsoft Search in Bing for some customers that will make Bing the default search engine in the browser automatically.
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  1. Bo Johnson said on January 29, 2020 at 6:47 am

    Personally I can’t stand Microsoft to start with.
    I use a Chrome browser, and the last thing in the world I want, is more Microsoft in my PC. Does anyone know if a person can block, or uninstall the extension from Chrome once it’s there?

  2. Michael said on January 24, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    None of your info (Registry/Control Panel etc.) matches in this article for Windows 10 v1909 Build 18636.592 (Pro 64 bit). Jan.24, 2020

  3. Sol Shine said on January 24, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Linux and LibreOffice has their problems, but they are slowly getting better.
    Meanwhile Microsoft is making it harder to justify using their software/spyware you pay for.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on January 26, 2020 at 1:11 am

      The truth is that if you work with any large clients or businesses, Office (and O365) is your only real option. Not onyl because of their wide usage and popularity, but because they tie into an entire Microsoft ecosystem (SharePoint, Teams, Lync/SfB, Outlook…). For personal users it is relatively straightforward to switch to LO; for large businesses it involves such enormous hassle that most don’t even want to consider it. And even if your own large business did decide to switch; what do you do about all your customers (in their 10,000s) who are also using O365 and SharePoint and Outlook?

      1. Nick said on February 1, 2020 at 11:58 am

        My dad works for the government and uses O365 with SharePoint. Every time I talk to him about work he bitches about how SharePoint is eating his files or how Outlook is crashing all the time

  4. Wayfarer said on January 24, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Continually amazed at how readily and regularly MS thinks it can somehow justify what is – by anyone else’s standards – thoroughly bad behaviour.

  5. anoan said on January 24, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Revenge for Google sabotaging Edge browser and Windows Mobile?

    1. Anonymous said on January 24, 2020 at 9:42 pm

      Why google has to support a rival? I don’t get it. This is not the same thing. This is malware that hijacks your browser. Google should blacklist this extension, all extensions with the same behaviour are blacklisted. I am sure they will blacklist it, Microsoft is too desperate for not get too much money from Bing ads? I don’t get it, they won’t achieve anything when the extension gets blacklisted.

  6. Anonymous said on January 24, 2020 at 11:32 am

    This is how market shares for search engines and lots of services and software are decided: primarily dirty tricks and having the power to do them, not product quality and informed user choice. That’s certainly not limited to Microsoft.

  7. Anonymous said on January 24, 2020 at 8:15 am

    There’s the anti-competitive Microsoft we all know and love!

  8. Anonymous said on January 24, 2020 at 2:19 am

    Why I would never get into any Microsoft cloud or subscription services. This is how Windows 10 is designed as well. It will be like this for every Microsoft product going forward. Always updating and older builds are on a ticking time bomb. They can shove anything down our throats, without our knowledge.They couldn’t do this on Windows 7. Why I prefer Windows 7, one build and only security updates.

  9. Tim said on January 24, 2020 at 1:51 am

    This was considered browser hijacking twenty years ago, and I see no reason to consider it anything less now.

  10. Mandy said on January 24, 2020 at 1:44 am

    Y’all let um hack me again got me so messed up I can’t sign in thx

  11. pHROZEN gHOST said on January 23, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    This is hijacking.

    The greatest impact will be to companies that pay $$$ for MS products. Some may not even realize until after it happens.

    MS could be setting itself up for lawsuits.

  12. ULBoom said on January 23, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    Can’t you just go back to your old default search? Overall, Bing’s far less annoying than Google and the results are better than they used to be. MS or Google, who’s not the worst? Tough question. Haven’t a clue how Bing’s “relevant workplace information” is superior; how it’s displayed is less likely to induce seizures than Google’s flashing and bouncing, though.

    Thunderbird uses Bing as the default search, so does Win 10 for some help topics regardless of default browser and search. Bing shows up in some obscure places, such as Notepad.

    Now if they could only develop a phone OS and force Bing on all their users, they could sink Google. /s

  13. Ryan said on January 23, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I’m aware that this site is read internationally, but with that list of countries you might as well invert the headline to say “Microsoft will install Bing Search and change the default search engine on Chrome for most customer systems”.

  14. Kelly said on January 23, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    A company who haven’t been trustworthy for years. With yet another thing like this why do they think people will trust the new Edge?

  15. Thomas Ehler said on January 23, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    We pay for Windows. We pay for O365

    And they act like we got it for free

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