Installing or updating Office 365 will quietly set Chrome search to Bing

nanoguy

TS Addict
Staff member

The Redmond giant isn't just busy moving as many customers as possible to the latest version of Windows 10. According to a new report from Thurrott, one of the company's next moves will apparently involve hijacking the default search engine in Google's Chrome browser for people who install Office 365 ProPlus.

This was spotted inside a Microsoft support document, which says that "Starting with Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, an extension for Microsoft Search in Bing will be installed that makes Bing the default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser." And that will also happen every time you update an existing installation of Office 365, unless you already have the Bing extension already installed on your PC.

Microsoft explains that this is mostly intended to give business users an easy way to take advantage of Microsoft Search if they happen to be users of Google Chrome. And that's because Microsoft has had to reinvent its Edge browser to win back users, most of which have moved on to Chrome and Firefox over the years. Speaking of which, Microsoft plans to treat Firefox users to the same extension and search engine changes in the coming months.

However, people quickly took to Reddit, Twitter, and GitHub to complain about the move. While many believe they would tolerate Microsoft installing the extension, system administrators in particular don't agree to the company switching the default search engine to Bing. They argue the feature should be optional, as it could confuse users and create a lot of ruckus for IT departments in large organizations.

In any case, Microsoft expected some backlash and included some suggestions in the support documentation on how administrators can exclude the extension from being installed through Group Policy or the Office Deployment Tool.

There's a lot of speculation out there as to why Microsoft is doing all this, but it's not a secret that in terms of usage, Bing is a distant second to Google, dwelling in the single digits region. And since Bing lost the bid for Google's "choice screen" on Android in the EU to DuckDuckGo, it's unlikely the situation would change anytime soon. Bing's only remaining funnels for users are Microsoft Edge and Cortana, both of which are not very popular with users.

Microsoft says it will initially roll out these changes sometime in February for users in the US, Canada, India, France, Germany, and the UK. By the time this hits more regions, Firefox users will experience the same changes when installing or updating Office 365.

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BSim500

TS Evangelist
Just another good reason I switched over to LibreOffice and never looked back!
You're not alone. We have 9x PC's (personal plus family owned small business) and we jumped to LibreOffice years ago. The biggest concern (compatibility of ODF files when opened by other people in MS Office) vanished when we realized literally no-one ever asks for .DOCX's over PDF's when e-mailing printable invoices, quotes, etc. Online collaboration, SmartArt, VBA, etc, are completely unneeded, whilst Libre's better quality PDF export, cross-platform, clean HTML export (vs pages of proprietary MSHTML "[if !mso]" and "class=msonormal" spammed junk), a spell check that doesn't stop working in long technical documents after an arbitrary number of errors, more Google Drive friendly, can use page sizes larger than 56cm, etc, £0 vs £650pa licensing, or even simply being able to find their own direct download installers on their own site are far better for our needs. Microsoft's unending BS really is a shining example of a "post peak" tech company.
 

Peter Farkas

TS Evangelist
Just another good reason I switched over to LibreOffice and never looked back!
Good luck with that. :)
For me this is not a real reason for switching. I can set my default search engine to Google anytime. Though I wonder when MS is gonna stop doing these ridiculous attempts to make people use Bing when google is just miles better.
On the other hand, I think the Office 365 is the best productivity software for work today.
I used to use Openoffice to write my thesis with (I used Ubuntu and Openoffice) but it was such a pain in this MS Office dominated world, that I am never going to give it a try ever again.
All the text formattings kept breaking among Openoffice, Word 2000 and Word 2003. It was a real nightmare.
 
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Impudicus

TS Maniac
Microsoft clearly does not prioritize the user's experience. Or the experience or those supporting their operating system in a professional environment. Promoting their own products is their most priority, using tactics like that of common bloatware and malware products... It's just disgusting.
 

TomSEA

TechSpot Chancellor
MS has been pulling this nonsense forever. Literally dating back to IE/Opera/Netscape days.

Simple fix to change it back, but an obvious annoyance.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
You're not alone. We have 9x PC's (personal plus family owned small business) and we jumped to LibreOffice years ago. The biggest concern (compatibility of ODF files when opened by other people in MS Office) vanished when we realized literally no-one ever asks for .DOCX's over PDF's when e-mailing printable invoices, quotes, etc.
IMO, PDF is far more universally acceptable these days especially, for the more technically inclined, with the print to PDF drivers out there.

Personally, I use WordPerfect Office on my home PC. It has been and always will be a far, far better office system than M$ Office. M$ Turd is great for one-page memos, but WordPerfect is literally able to far more sophisticated documents and also would be a competent package for desktop publishing. Most of the last five or six WordPerfect releases even have the ability to load, edit, and save PDF files. Though Turd has something similar, I find it lacking.

On my smartphone, I use sheets - but that is the only "office" package that I use on my smartphone ATM.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Microsoft clearly does not prioritize the user's experience. Or the experience or those supporting their operating system in a professional environment. Promoting their own products is their most priority, using tactics like that of common bloatware and malware products... It's just disgusting.
WTF? M$ knows better how to use your PC than you do!! :laughing:
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Good luck with that. :)
For me this is not a real reason for switching. I can set my default search engine to Google anytime. Though I wonder when MS is gonna stop doing these ridiculous attempts to make people use Bing when google is just miles better.
I cannot say I agree that gagme is always better. As I see it, each has their strengths - I primarily use Bing, so you could say, if you want, ;) that I am biased. However, when I do not easily find what I am looking for with Bing, I use gagme and sometimes, it gives better results.

Honestly, one of the main reasons that I use Bing is that I get points and I use the points to buy toilet paper at walmart - I :poop: you not! :laughing:

However, I really do not like either Bing or gagme for searches. When Bing first came out, I thought that their search results were excellent, but over time, just like with the MSDN search engine that used to exist, the results have gotten much worse. As I see it, Bing and gagme use "OR" searches when you use multiple terms, and that does nothing better than throwing :poop: at a wall and seeing what sticks. It seems to be a trend for search engines these days - it gives more results, but often, the results that an "OR" search gives are not relevant.
 

Plutoisaplanet

TS Maniac
I cannot say I agree that gagme is always better. As I see it, each has their strengths - I primarily use Bing, so you could say, if you want, ;) that I am biased. However, when I do not easily find what I am looking for with Bing, I use gagme and sometimes, it gives better results.

Honestly, one of the main reasons that I use Bing is that I get points and I use the points to buy toilet paper at walmart - I :poop: you not! :laughing:

However, I really do not like either Bing or gagme for searches. When Bing first came out, I thought that their search results were excellent, but over time, just like with the MSDN search engine that used to exist, the results have gotten much worse. As I see it, Bing and gagme use "OR" searches when you use multiple terms, and that does nothing better than throwing :poop: at a wall and seeing what sticks. It seems to be a trend for search engines these days - it gives more results, but often, the results that an "OR" search gives are not relevant.
Same, except Microsoft pays for my Starbucks. The other reason I use Bing is because I trust Microsoft more than Google. I wouldn't say Google has (much) better results than Bing, but I would say that Microsoft doing this is only going to annoy people, not convert anyone to Bing. I expect Google to remain the most popular search provider for the foreseeable future.
 
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cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
I'm never going to use 365, so I will not be effected by this. For those of you that are, I do sympathize.

There should be regulation preventing one application from needlessly tampering with another. And that is exactly what this is.
 
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Mr Majestyk

TS Evangelist
Truly pathetic move from Microsoft, these clowns never learn. I'll bet the EU will come down on them like a ton of sh!t, but good ol' USA will probably heap praise on them.
 
Maybe I missed an article in Techspot, but I upgraded my copy of Firefox Portable to the "newer safer" 72 last week and the search engine Yahoo installed itself and became my default. This behavior is becoming universal and until there is punishment in big dollars per user complaining will continue.
 

xoctor

TS Rookie
Microsoft's marketing execs think they are so clever. They are willing to do anything to force adoption of their products, including acting as malware! Everything, except make their software better than the competition's, that is.

Seriously, hijacking a user's preferences to make their dead-in-the-water Bing search *appear* popular is a perfect representation of the corrupted, autocratic, self-serving society we now live in.

For me, it's just the latest reminder that Microsoft see their users as a resource to be pillaged, not as customers to support. Yet more motivation to migrate to Apple, Google and Open Software.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
I smell another lawsuit.
Yeah, this is sort of a "reverse twist" on the suit they lost in the EU, whereby they were forced to offer browser choices during the Windows install. Back then, you got the tragedy that was IE 6 (?), or nothing.

Now they're going to force their search engine on every one else's browser... :rolleyes:
 
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