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Microsoft has offered Bing users the option to encrypt their search traffic for roughly a year and a half now. The thing is, the average user probably doesn't even know it’s a possibility or what the implications of encryption entail.
Rather than spend a ton of money on a marketing campaign that may easily fall on deaf ears, Microsoft has simply decided to enable encryption by default. Easy enough, right?
Bing Senior Product Manager Duane Forrester recently announced the tighter security measure via blog post. In it, he said the transition to encrypted search traffic will take place this summer and when it happens, traffic originating from Bing will increasingly come from HTTPS versus HTTP.
Microsoft will continue to pass along a referrer string so marketers and webmasters will be able to identify traffic as coming from Bing. But to protect users’ privacy, the search term(s) that a user entered to find a particular link will not be shown.
Forrester said Bing will provide some limited query term data through their various advertiser and marketer tools including its Search Query Terms Report, Universal Event Tracking and Bing Webmaster Tools.
While it may sound like a setback for marketers and webmasters, it’s more about playing catch-up at this point. Google started enabling SSL for signed-in users back in 2011 (and went default for all users in 2013) with Bing partner Yahoo following suit in early 2014.