Microsoft caves in, adds Edge setting to disable the Bing button
Microsoft has updated Microsoft Edge Canary today with a new option to turn off the Bing icon in the browser. The company launched the Bing icon in Microsoft Edge 111 and has received criticism for the way it has implemented it. The actual name of the feature is Discover.
Users criticized Microsoft for making the Bing button activate the sidebar on hover. Since it is placed next to the main menu button, accidental activations are common. To make matters worse, Microsoft did not add an option to Edge to turn the functionality off.
When Edge users hover over the Discover button, Edge expands the Bing Chat interface and displays the sidebar, even if the sidebar was not displayed previously in the browser.
Edge users may configure a policy, either in the Group Policy Editor or Registry directly, to remove the Bing button in the browser. A side-effect of this is that it turns off the entire sidebar, and that it turns the browser into a "managed browser", which means that some features may only be configured using policies.
Now, with the latest Microsoft Edge Canary, comes an option to turn off the Bing button in Edge. Canary is a development version of the web browser that is usually two versions ahead. Considering the usual release cycle, the option to alleviate the issue could land in the browser in May 2023.
The new functionality is in testing right now. It looks feature complete, but there is still a chance that Microsoft decides to modify it. The release to Stable versions of Edge may be postponed or even expedited.
Also worth a read: how to prevent Microsoft Edge from creating desktop shortcuts
Disabling the Bing Discover button in Microsoft Edge
Hiding the Bing button in Edge is a straightforward process, provided that Edge 113 or newer is used.
- Open the Microsoft Edge web browser on the device.
- Either select Menu > Settings > Sidebar, or select the Settings icon displayed on the sidebar. If the sidebar is not displayed, hover over the Bing icon to display it.
- Scroll down to "app specific settings" and activate the Bing setting with a click on the arrow icon.
- Microsoft Edge displays three settings on the page that opens. The first, "Show Discover", defines whether the Bing icon is displayed in Microsoft Edge. Toggle it to off, and the Bing icon is removed immediately from the browser.
The two remaining options are disabled automatically when Show Discover is turned off in the Settings of the browser.
Note that this change does not affect the sidebar. It is still displayed and may be used. Users may toggle the "always show sidebar" option in the main Sidebar settings of the Edge web browser to hide it as well.
Microsoft introduced the new Bing Discover button in a user unfriendly way. The launch would not be all that problematic if Microsoft would have added a turn off option immediately.
Now You: have you used Edge's Discover feature?