Consider these privacy implications before joining Microsoft's Bing Waitlist

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 8, 2023

Microsoft announced the integration of the language models into its core products Bing and Microsoft Edge on an event yesterday.

microsoft web optimizer

On Bing, search engine users may get answers from the AI next to regular search results, and a conversational mode next to that. Microsoft claims that the integration of OpenAI's technology improves search results. The AI output includes information about sources, something that ChatGPT is missing.

The next level of Bing is launched as a preview, which means that it is not a market-ready product at this stage. Users should be cautious because of that, if they manage to try it out at all.

Bing is also getting an infusion to improve the search experience with additional data; this applies to information about current events, like sports or stock prices, but also for entertainment queries and other user queries.

The waitlist

Microsoft created a waitlist system that users from all over the world may join. The company plans to roll out the Bing with AI preview to users from the waitlist first over the coming weeks and months.

The waitlist limits access to the new Bing, but it itself is also limiting. First of all, the waitlist is only open to users with a Microsoft account. To join it, one has to sign-in to the Microsoft account on the Bing website or use Microsoft Edge with a linked Microsoft account.

Microsoft notes that by joining the waitlist, users will "receive emails about Microsoft Bing, which include offers about Microsoft, Rewards, and partner products".  In other words: Microsoft gets the right to advertise its own and third-party products to users on the waitlist. The company links to terms of use and a privacy statement, but there does not seem to be information on unsubscribing again after signing-up for it.

But wait, there is more. There is also an option to "access the new Bing even faster". It requires that users "set Microsoft defaults" on their PC and that they install the Microsoft Bing app on their mobiles.

Setting Microsoft defaults depends on the browser that is used. In Edge, Microsoft requests a whole lot of invasive changes that include making Microsoft Edge the default web browser and Bing the default search provider, setting MSN as the homepage of the browser, and pinning Bing to the taskbar. In Chrome, Microsoft just asks users to install the Microsoft Bing Search for Chrome extension. Installation of the Microsoft Bing mobile app is a requirement regardless of the browser that is being used.

Closing Words

Microsoft Bing with AI sprinkled on it generates a lot of interest. Many Internet users want to try it to test the functionality for themselves. Is it giving Microsoft the long-needed edge up in the war against Google Search?

The main downside at this stage is that Microsoft is asking for a lot to even join the waitlist, and even more to take the fast lane. Is it worth it? That's what every user has to decide individually.

Now You: Have you joined the waitlist or tried Bing with AI already?

Consider these privacy implications before joining Microsoft's Bing Waitlist
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Consider these privacy implications before joining Microsoft's Bing Waitlist
Before users hit the join button to join the Microsoft Bing waitlist to try the new AI enhanced search, they need to be aware of privacy implications.
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  1. Roebie said on September 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

    “the not so perfect search utility in XP”
    At least it worked. Both Vista and Seven take far too much time indexing and searching on networked drives.
    A search for all files with a certain string in the filename takes 3 times longer on Seven (and 4 times longer on Vista) than on XP.
    The indexing service takes too much memory too.
    I’ll stick to Copernic Desktop Search for now!

  2. Kari said on September 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    What a crap! My customers don’t find their documents with windows search function, even if it is almost in right front of you. Microsoft’s policy is to keep everything messy and protected, and the most stupidiest thing is to show different name for the folder than what it actually is.

    Is it too much to ask, if the search function would work like in XP? Yes it is…
    Good luck with Windows Search, third party software rules in this case… too.

  3. Fuddler said on October 18, 2012 at 6:13 am

    The term negation function doesn’t work.

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