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  • Will Microsoft forcibly change the Chrome default search engine to Bing?

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Will Microsoft forcibly change the Chrome default search engine to Bing?

    This topic contains 98 replies, has 37 voices, and was last updated by  rc primak 3 weeks, 5 days ago.

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    • #2088464 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      Is this “Office as a Service,” or just another poorly worded Microsoft announcement? I’m getting lots of questions about a bizarre but official post f
      [See the full post at: Will Microsoft forcibly change the Chrome default search engine to Bing?]

      11 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088471 Reply

      ajcoll5
      AskWoody Lounger

      Don’t worry Firefox users, you’re next!

      Support for the Firefox web browser is planned for a later date. We will keep you informed about support for Firefox through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center and this article.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088472 Reply

      steeviebops
      AskWoody Lounger

      If AV vendors don’t detect this as malware or PUPS then there’s something fishy going on. Changing a search engine without a user’s consent has been malware behaviour for a long time.

      • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  steeviebops.
      • #2100160 Reply

        anonymous

        Reason AV vendors will not detect this as malware is simple really,

        AV vendor blocks the search engine switch.

        Microsoft gets report from telemetry that their switch was blocked by AV vendor.

        Microsoft sends correspondence to AV vendor informing them that this is not a virus / malware but a “feature”.

        AV vendor responds that it is definite unwanted software/browser Hijacking/malware.

        Microsoft responds, it isn’t and if you do not unblock it in your next definition update we will remove your AV software from the store and block it form installing on Windows.

        AV vendor complies.

    • #2088474 Reply

      PKCano
      Da Boss

      I can’t see how Google will stand for this. Ought to be leagally interesting.

      7 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088490 Reply

        Mark
        AskWoody Plus

        You know the EU is going to eat Microsoft’s lunch with this one…and lets not forget the case back in 2001, United States v. Microsoft Corp.  Which by the way MS lost.  Trying to make it so you couldn’t separate IE from Windows (sound familiar?).

        I’ll bring the popcorn…

        Windows 10 Pro x64 v1809, Windows 7 Home Premium x64, Windows Vista Home Premium x64
        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088479 Reply

      jabeattyauditor
      AskWoody Lounger

      I can see how some all-in-for-Microsoft organizations might want this, but make it an opt-in through Group Policy.

      Maybe the article is just a means of testing the waters to see if they could get away with it. If the reaction is negative, pull back and say “he was off the reservation.” If nobody complains, assume your market strength is great and you can push forward at will.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088480 Reply

      fk5353
      AskWoody Plus

      If this is ever launched, lawsuit coming in 3, 2, 1 ….

      Even the Feds might get in on this one.

    • #2088481 Reply

      jdywky
      AskWoody Plus

      Time is the most precious currency we have.

      a Service or software that now requires our wasting more time chasing THEIR ERRORS with updates is stealing robbing from us every NANO SECOND. They should have and may well have started with the attitude of a FIDUCIARY..but no longer.  Legal issues might be pursued from Truth in Advertising to a Class Action Suit….simply to restore repair and make secure all this since Windows 7..THE BEST THEY CREATED started…or before…

      THANK YOU WOODY! !!

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088553 Reply

        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Under Microsoft’s user terms and conditions an individual is prevented from joining a class action suite and their only remedy is through binding arbitration as an individual.

        • #2088630 Reply

          anonymous

          Is that EULA term actually enforceable and there are the Antitrust laws that can still be applied to fix that issue as well, what with the majority of the 3rd party OEM PC/Laptop makers becoming a little too vertically integrated into MS’s OS/Applications and Ads/Search engine  monetization scheme.

          Monopoly OS market share is technically not illegal but using that Monopoly OS market share to vertically integrate most of the 3rd party OEM PC/Laptop market place  into MS’s OS/Search-Engine/Applications ecosystem monetization scheme under Windows 10 could be in violation of antitrust laws.

           

          2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088482 Reply

      ajcoll5
      AskWoody Lounger

      To add another thought, this is no different than the 500 or so BrowserModifiers that Windows Defender guards against other entities from performing. The Microsoft Security Intelligence team should be adding this to the definitions, right?

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088495 Reply

        Moonbear
        AskWoody Lounger

        They couldn’t do that (even if they actually wanted to), it would mean playing by the same rules as everyone else.

    • #2088488 Reply

      Moonbear
      AskWoody Lounger

      This has the potential to be far worse the the GWX campaign ever was.

      As @steeviebops pointed out above, changing the search engine is something a PUP or malware would do. (Ask.com toolbar springs to mind.)

      How did anyone at Microsoft think this was a good idea?

       

      • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Moonbear.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088647 Reply

        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        How did anyone at Microsoft think this was a good idea?

        The same ideology that brought us Windows 8.

        Win 7 Still Alive, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088486 Reply

      discorallado
      AskWoody Plus

      Working out of a co-managed SCCM+InTune instance along with AD/GPO structure, I’ve downloaded the most recent Google Chrome ADM(X) extensions and will disable the setting to change search engine. If the O365 ProPlus update overrides that, then our ATP solution better ***** treat it like PUP/Unidentified.Nonsense. I’ll be more than happy to cobble together an aggressive Compliance Item and force their hand.

      Lastly, my $.02, that article reads exactly as the author’s response implies. Just one of many little bonuses in the MS ecosystem as of late.

      The “Peering through the Microsoft Tea Leaves” article from several weeks ago is much more prescient than originally thought.

      Please follow the –Lounge Rules– no personal attacks, no swearing,

      Rugged indoorsman.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088555 Reply

        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        I’d think you’d want the latest Office 365 Admin templates which the article clearly states can be used to disable installation of the extension.

        --Joe

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088496 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      Wonder how/if the GDPR quango’s will react to this news in the EU?
      Anyone remember MSFT offering IE only with XP back in the early-mid 2000’s?
      Weren’t they advised/ forced to offer a choice of browsers via a patch and change their newer ISO’s/ Service Packs to reflect this due to competition rights…
      this , in my mind is no different, alas history repeating itself it would seem

      Win7 Pro x64 | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86 | W10 never again
      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088498 Reply

        Moonbear
        AskWoody Lounger

        Wouldn’t this be worse since it would happen without the users say-so?

      • #2088516 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Browser hijacking (from Wikipedia):

        Browser hijacking is a form of unwanted software that modifies a web browser‘s settings without a user’s permission, to inject unwanted advertising into the user’s browser. A browser hijacker may replace the existing home page, error page, or search engine with its own.[1] These are generally used to force hits to a particular website, increasing its advertising revenue.

        I still refuse to believe that this is MS official policy.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2088518 Reply

          Mark
          AskWoody Plus

          Who says it has to be an “official” policy?  If it was it would have to be written down (or in company emails) making them even more at risk for an anti-trust suit.

          Windows 10 Pro x64 v1809, Windows 7 Home Premium x64, Windows Vista Home Premium x64
          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2088559 Reply

          joep517
          AskWoody MVP

          I think Microsoft will justify this by saying it is for enterprises only, although that is not entirely clear from the article, and that there are several configuration methods available to block installation.

          --Joe

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2088708 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            There are often clear ways to block installation of the browser hijackers with PUPs too (often as easy as checking or unchecking a box during the installation of some unrelated program with which the hijacker was bundled).  It doesn’t mean they’re not malware.  Things like that should be opt-in, not opt-out.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.1).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2089195 Reply

              joep517
              AskWoody MVP

              Unfortunately, in the USA almost everything is opt-out. You could look at almost any of the Office programs as malware if you don’t want a specific program but the administrator has made it standard practice to install as part of Office 365. Since Microsoft seems to be making this extension a standard part of Office 365 Pro Plus than it should be up to the administrator to determine if it is included in a new installation. I do NOT believe Microsoft should make it the default on an update.

              --Joe

            • #2089198 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Plus

              It’s not standard practice for Microsoft to interfere with a non-Microsoft program though.

              Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

              2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2089230 Reply

              joep517
              AskWoody MVP

              That is not true. Microsoft has routinely interfered with third party programs. Go back to when Wordperfect, which was still a DOS program at the time, would not load after a Windows update. Or when Microsoft used undocumented APIs to make Office programs interact with Windows better than third party programs. Or Windows Media Player not playing various file types in several versions. Go back to the dustups with RealPlayer or with various security vendors. Or making IE part of Windows to the detriment of Netscape and others. Or the inclusion of a TCP/IP stack in Windows that killed more than one third party vendor. And the list can go on and on.

              Microsoft routinely and regularly makes decisions to benefit Microsoft.

              --Joe

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2089237 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Plus

              That is not true. Microsoft has routinely interfered with third party programs. Go back to when Wordperfect, which was still a DOS program at the time, would not load after a Windows update.

              Deliberately and announced as such?

              Or when Microsoft used undocumented APIs to make Office programs interact with Windows better than third party programs.

              That’s not interfering with a third-party program.

              Or Windows Media Player not playing various file types in several versions.

              Via a change to Microsoft’s own program presumably, not someone else’s.

              Go back to the dustups with RealPlayer or with various security vendors. Or making IE part of Windows to the detriment of Netscape and others. Or the inclusion of a TCP/IP stack in Windows that killed more than one third party vendor. And the list can go on and on.

              None of that involves making direct changes to another company’s product.

              Microsoft routinely and regularly makes decisions to benefit Microsoft.

              Of course, but they’re breaking new ground here.

              If it’s allowed to stand, which I don’t think it will be.

              A senior manager should be banging a couple of team leaders’ heads together.

              Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

              2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2088649 Reply

          RamRod
          AskWoody Lounger

          Woody, with all due respect, browser hijacking is only an extension of the original issue – OS hijacking. We all agreed to this when we rolled over on WAAS – WinX. What did you expect – that they wouldn’t stop at the OS? They are talking ecosystems here – the software only works as intended if you give them control – ala Microsoft Account or Office 365 subscription. Try making all those WinX apps work with a local account only. Microsoft, Google, etc, all want total control over your computing experience so that they can sell complete usage metrics to the highest bidder. Don’t ask what Microsoft and others are doing to your computer – ask where their revenue is coming from. Follow the $.

          Respectfully submitted.

          5 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2089134 Reply

            Norio
            AskWoody Plus

            Yes, I’m not surprised either.  I mean look at **** that users put up with all the time.  I install Windows on a computer and use IE or Edge to download Firefox or Chrome, and what happens?–A message appears asking why I would want to download this POS when I have a perfectly wonderful browser called Edge on the system already.  I install Firefox/Chrome and then the OS takes back the association for HTML with a message saying the change of association had caused a “problem” and had to be reverted.  Then I forcibly make Firefox/Chrome the default application, and manually change the association for HTML, and a message pops up asking “Are you sure?”  This OS ecosystem is set up to force us to act as lemmings–albeit lemmings with wallets.  And I’m using Enterprise version OSes–what do people who use Home, Pro, or whatever (Lemmings Edition) have to put up with?

            Moderator note: edit for content

            4 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2090653 Reply

              RamRod
              AskWoody Lounger

              No wallet in my case. I’m Office 2003 on WinX 1511. I haven’t given a $ to MS in years. And MS is OK with that. They are getting something else from me and selling it for $. They don’t employ all those programmers and marketers and data center operators for free. They pay them. And where do they get the revenue to pay them? They don’t charge us much for software any longer. So where does their revenue come from?

              I don’t really care where they get their revenue. I only care about how they limit the software they give me for free, or for a reasoned (not necessarily reasonable) rental fee, if I don’t yield the information they covet.

              The important question to me is, ‘what is my information worth to me?’. Is it worth what I get? How can I judge if MS won’t even disclose what information of mine they collect and sell?

              RamRod

            • #2093340 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Plus

              The important question to me is, ‘what is my information worth to me?’. Is it worth what I get? How can I judge if MS won’t even disclose what information of mine they collect and sell?

              Microsoft do disclose what they collect, and they don’t sell any of it:

              Microsoft Privacy Statement (Last Updated: January 2020)

              Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

      • #2088517 Reply

        Mark
        AskWoody Plus

        This is what I stated further up the thread.  The EU and US is going to have a field day with MS over this.  This is the stuff anti-trust lawyers live for.  I’m sure they’re salivating over this right now in anticipation.
        I’m pretty sure you still can’t extricate IE from Windows without breaking the system (at least from what we’ve seen here at work).  At least you can tell the system which browser you want to use.  Now we’ll have to go through the same gyrations to get their search engine out of our browser.  I’m sure there is going to be some way to do it, but it’ll probably be buried deep in the bowels of the Registry.

        Windows 10 Pro x64 v1809, Windows 7 Home Premium x64, Windows Vista Home Premium x64
        • #2088519 Reply

          jabeattyauditor
          AskWoody Lounger

          Blocking the installation or disabling Bing if it’s already installed both look like relatively straightforward tasks (they’re explained in the article Woody referenced), but we should be going through those motions if we want Bing, not if we don’t.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2088560 Reply

          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          This may be stuff that anti-trust lawyers live for but the US Justice Department may sit on the sidelines under the current Administration.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2088724 Reply

          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          I’m pretty sure you still can’t extricate IE from Windows without breaking the system (at least from what we’ve seen here at work).

          That was the claim that MS fed to the US government, and they bought it.  Of course MS could remove IE; they were the one that had integrated it, and no one would know better how to undo that.  Or are we supposed to believe that some guy out there who did not have access to any MS internal documentation or source code was able to achieve what MS itself could not?

          I used “Mozilla’s Revenge” to remove IE from Windows 98 SE back in the day, something that MS exhorted was not possible, but it worked, and I used 98 SE for years with nary an issue from the removal of IE.  XPLite had the same purpose for XP users, though I didn’t use it as IE was needed to manually control Windows Updates back then.

          While the things that do depend on IE would obviously not work anymore, the idea that Windows as a whole was one of those things was obviously false.  If you were one of the many people who had no intent to use one of the programs that did depend on IE, you could remove it and keep using Windows quite well.

          MS “lost” that case, but they never had to remove IE from Windows.  The settlement involved the inclusion of the IE blocker dialog, which in practice did very little.  Any program that directly called IE (rather than a protocol or file type handler) would still start it without a problem, and there were a bunch of them out there that took the easy way of assuming IE was always there for them to use, and it continued to be available for them to use after the settlement. And if the user already had set some other browser as the default handler for HTTP protocols or HTML mime types, any clicks on HTML files or the like already launched the non-IE browser, even before the IE blocker ever appeared.  It didn’t actually seem to me to do anything at all– I had IE blocked back then, and it still appeared all the time, just the same as it had when not blocked.

          It was a loss on paper, but it looks like a big win to me.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.1).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2088763 Reply

            anonymous

            I don’t think those tools ever removed IE fully.  As far as I’m aware IE was baked into the shellcode for the WinUI (98, 2000, XP specifically).  If you used a different window manager like Dolphin maybe you could get around this.  Konqueror in fact was eventually split up in Linux, but followed a similar design philosophy to IE/Explorer.

            I’ve never explored how tightly knit the UI and IE are so I can’t say to what degree this was true.

            • #2088777 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Part of the process for installing Mozilla’s Revenge into Windows 98/98SE was to provide the file manager (explorer.exe) from Windows 95 OSR2, as the old one with IE would be wiped out.  I had OSR2 on my machine immediately prior to migrating to 98SE, so grabbing explorer.exe off of the OSR2 CD was a simple task.  The developer(s) of Mozilla’s Revenge could not, of course, distribute the file, as it was copyrighted, but I’d bet that it was available out there for those who didn’t have easy access to OSR2 (which was never sold as a retail version, only OEM).

              Even the incomplete removal, if that’s what it was, would have been better than the useless IE blocker.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.1).

              1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088508 Reply

      Marcus Weldby
      AskWoody Plus

      Maybe a Chromebook user can answer this, since I’m not one. If a Chromebook user chooses DuckDuckGo as their search engine in Chrome, is there never any kind of Chrome update that would change the default search engine to Google?

      Thanks, Woody, for keeping us up to date on all things tech!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088520 Reply

      F A Kramer
      AskWoody Plus

      If I understand the word “default” correctly, the search choice could still be overwritten by the Chrome user. It is only if the user makes no choice that Bing (or Bong we call it around here) takes over.

      But I agree strongly that over-riding the user’s current setting is wrong. MS ought only to offer making the change. Asking for consent is OK, otherwise not!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088534 Reply

      joep517
      AskWoody MVP

      It is unclear to me from the article that this applies to Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal. The article also specifically says it does not apply to Office 365 Business.

      “This extension is included only with Office 365 ProPlus. It isn’t included with Office 365 Business, which is the version of Office that is comes with certain business plans, such as the Microsoft 365 Business plan and the Office 365 Business Premium plan.”

      The article is talking about business/enterprise deployment of Office 365. There are ways to prevent the installation of the extension presented in the article. An Office 365 Admin should be aware or should be made aware of the article and the options.

      “If you don’t want Bing to be made the default search engine, you can exclude the extension from being installed by using the Office Deployment Tool or by using Group Policy. There are also ways to exclude the extension from being installed if you’re using Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (current branch) or Microsoft Intune.”

      Users can also disable the extension.

      “If your users decide they want to stop using Bing as their default search engine, they can click on the magnifying glass icon next to the address bar in Google Chrome and click the Use Bing as your default search engine toggle to the Off position. For the change to take effect, they need to close Google Chrome and then open it again.”

      All that said, Microsoft should not force existing users to have their settings changed. It is OK if they say this is the default for new installs.

      --Joe

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2088548 Reply

        anonymous

        Microsoft should not force existing users to have their settings changed.

        “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

        I agree with Woody, this is hardly set in stone by Microsoft, or believable by a rational person.

        Misinformation on purpose perhaps?

        anon51

    • #2088538 Reply

      anonymous

      Apparently, Google and Microsoft are thick as thieves. It’s their highway and governments around the world sit in their tank. Anyway, just added

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\EdgeUpdate]
      "DoNotUpdateToEdgeWithChromium"=dword:00000001

      to block the Chredge being installed via Windows Malware Update.

    • #2088562 Reply

      joep517
      AskWoody MVP

      I only have access to Office 365 Pro Plus through a work account. If you have Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal what is the desktop package called in Control Panel or Settings? If it is not Office 365 Pro Plus then the way I read the article it does not apply.

      --Joe

    • #2088567 Reply

      joep517
      AskWoody MVP

      Note that the article clearly states you must be signed in with a work or school account for Microsoft Search to be active.

      “Users must be signed in with their work or school account to receive results from Microsoft Search in Bing. For more information, see Security and Privacy for Microsoft Search in Bing.”

      From the security article:

      “Users can access Microsoft Search only through a work or school account. They need to sign in with the same credentials they use to access Office 365 services such as SharePoint or Outlook. A personal Microsoft account can’t be used to sign in to Microsoft Search.”

      --Joe

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088577 Reply

      Kathy Stevens
      AskWoody Plus

      BleepingComputer has an excellent article entitled Microsoft to Force Bing Search in Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus Users at https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/microsoft-to-force-bing-search-in-chrome-for-office-365-proplus-users/

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088578 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      As a user of Firefox, Brave, Opera, Vivali, Safari… I am feeling deeply hurt for being neglected by Microsoft.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088579 Reply

      BobT
      AskWoody Lounger

      Does anyone even use Bing? (Other than Grandmas who don’t know how to change it).

      Even at work they change it to Google by default.

      • #2088580 Reply

        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        A number of Windows 10 Aps such as Maps open in Bing by default.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2088760 Reply

        warrenrumak
        AskWoody Plus

        I stopped using Google search last year in favour of Bing.

        Why?

        Because I’d rather give my search history to a software company that sells software to me, than to an oversized advertising company that sells me to corporations.

        I did try DuckDuckGo but found the quality of search results to be lacking.

        • #2089015 Reply

          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          I did try DuckDuckGo but found the quality of search results to be lacking.

          Same here. But Bing is not good for me neither – I think mostly because its just not suited for czech. Dont get me wrong, I mostly search in english, but sometimes you have to find something within your country/language and Bing is not good at this. I prefer to have one search engine over selecting from two.

          This just shows how much power over users / AV SW / adblockers Microsoft does have – they can rollup whatever they want to, no need to ask user if they want to 🙂

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

    • #2088582 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      Maybe the article is just a means of testing the waters to see if they could get away with it

      It is not an article, its a Microsoft published document :
      https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/microsoft-search-bing

    • #2088603 Reply

      techweenie
      AskWoody Lounger

      And this sort of c*** is why I enabled Chrome Group Policies across all of my clients to block all extensions not explicitly allowed.

    • #2088596 Reply

      anonymous

      No need to post this! But(1) it’s monetization time for that “Free” 10 trade for your 7 or 8/8.1 license key and more of the same to come now that 7’s gone all EOL and 8/8.1’s been getting the unwanted stepchild treatment from MS/CPU/GPU makers for years now!
      (1)
      “From WordPad to WordAds: Microsoft caught sneaking nagging Office promos into venerable text editor beta
      Hidden for now, probably coming to a desktop near you, soon, ish”

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/01/22/microsoft_ads_wordpad/

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088608 Reply

      Kathy Stevens
      AskWoody Plus

      The best way to fight Microsoft’s intrusion into how our software works is to vote with our feet.

      Seek out alternatives to Microsoft software – FireFox, WordPerfect Office, Thunderbird for email, etc.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088614 Reply

        PKCano
        Da Boss

        Get a Mac, you’ll never go back!

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2100227 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        The true alternative is Linux. I use Ubuntu and Fedora almost exclusively these days.

        -- rc primak

    • #2088622 Reply

      anonymous

      I remember way back 20 years ago, when the practices of hijacking the end user’s search engine preference, and installing random unasked for things onto their computer were exclusively the domain of freeware from sketchy companies that nobody had heard of, and none of the big boys in IT would dare do anything like that.

      Praise be to late-stage capitalism and deregulation!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088634 Reply

        MADgeek
        AskWoody Lounger

        This sort of thing, going back to some of the questionable (and I’m being generous here) tactics Microsoft used to compel users of Win7 to switch to 10, and including the intrusive policies on updating Win 10 (as with home users having no say in when or if their machine is updated, or what “digital disasters” said updates may cause), are why I am adamantly refusing to jump to Windows 10. I totally agree with whoever said users need to vote with their feet — find something else you can tolerate, learn to use it, and let Microsoft kill their own business with their indefensible policies and shenanigans. They obviously gave up on actually listening to their customers’ concerns, issues, and questions a long, long time ago, and sooner or later will end up paying the price for it.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2088661 Reply

          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          The only thing I’m jumping to is Linux.

          Win 7 Still Alive, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2100228 Reply

            rc primak
            AskWoody_MVP

            I did that when Microsoft first introduced the Windows 8.0 “Dr. Frankenstein’s Interface”.

            -- rc primak

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088623 Reply

      anonymous

      Well anyone actually still living, and even brain-dead, could see this coming after Windows 7 went EOL. It’s kind of similar to that classic snow cornice collapse event that starts off the whole mountainside of accumulated snow sliding down. And a similar OS based deluge of Ads/Bing-slurping burying the entire OS/Application ecosystem on the down-slope side with forced search engine and ad revenue monetization under 10.

      Buried 10’s of meters deep in Ads/Bing search engine profiling the end users will be. Such is the nature of monetization force!

      • #2088755 Reply

        anonymous

        I think this is less of an issue of Win7 going away and more likely that they’re releasing it as a push for ChrEdge.  If people still won’t use Edge, maybe they’ll put up with Bing in their Chrome?  They’re already using Chromium, so the code is interchangeable between browsers.  And if it proves to be useful for corporate users, maybe Corporate will mandate Edge as the browser of choice…  I know I’m considering doing this for my end users already.

        All roads lead to the same end goal.

        • #2100231 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          “They put Bing in my Chrome”.

          Is that anything like the candy commercial where they complain, “You got peanut butter in my chocolate.” And vice-versa?

          As far as I’m concerned, both Google and Microsoft are bad for your privacy health.

          -- rc primak

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088641 Reply

      ryegrass
      AskWoody Plus

      Does anyone even use Bing? (Other than Grandmas who don’t know how to change it).

      Even at work they change it to Google by default.

      I’ve actually found Bing to be quite useful when searching for Microsoft related content (drivers, hotfixes, Windows syntax, etc.) and have it as a drop down search engine in my Bookmarks Toolbar.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088642 Reply

      pHROZEN gHOST
      AskWoody Lounger

      What does Google think about that?

      I stopped using Office when I retired (corporate standard) and moved over to LibreOffice.

      Byte me!

    • #2088643 Reply

      anonymous

      Ah good ol’ “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.”  For a while there I was concerned that Microsoft was going to roll over for Google/Chrome.  At this point I’m not a fan of either company so it should be an interesting matchup.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088654 Reply

      Mr. Natural
      AskWoody Plus

      I just received an email from the O365 message center confirming this is happening.

      Part of the email states:

      • This browser extension is scheduled to be available in Monthly Channel (Targeted) in February 2020.
      • It is expected to be released to Monthly Channel in early March 2020.
      • It will be included in the upcoming releases for Semi-Channel (Targeted) and Semi-Annual Channel.

      Red Ruffnsore reporting from the front lines.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088660 Reply

      AmbularD
      AskWoody Plus

      One more good reason to use OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

      i7-4790k - Z97X-Gaming 3 - DDR3 2133 x 32GB - GTX 1070 FTW - Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088753 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      So to make sure I got this: No Office 365 (any variety) = no problems?

      I have: LibreOffice with Linux, Office 2010 with Windows 7 Pro, as well as Office 2016 for Macs in my… Mac. Because I am in a situation where the choice to install and run software either entirely on my machines or on the “Cloud” is up to me, all of the above are installed on the PC and Mac’s respective HD and SSD and are always available to be used, right away, 24/7, whether the Internet is accessible at a given time or not.

      As to the criticism expressed here about MS intending to forcibly change the search engine chosen by users of Chrome: assuming the news sites quoted here are correctly reporting the known facts and being correctly interpreted by the commenters, it strikes me as both an overreach on MS’ part that might or might not be addressed by governments, depending on what the politics of the hour are like in each particular country/state/province/township/county…. If entirely correct, those reports would only reinforce my own perceptions of which way MS is going and also my feeling that I have made the right decision wishing good bye to Windows X et sequel, now that Win 7 has met it’s appointed doom —  as far as MS is concerned, not me. I still have uses for the old, trusty OS — offline. And, as implied in my opening paragraph, good and supported alternatives for anything I need to do online.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

    • #2088779 Reply

      PerthMike
      AskWoody Plus

      I think Microsoft will justify this by saying it is for enterprises only, although that is not entirely clear from the article, and that there are several configuration methods available to block installation.

      Enterprises are the LAST ONES who want to see Bing on their browers.

      I will certainly keep an eye out for it. I’m just glad we are still using Office 2016 (on prem) where I can control what gets pushed to my users.

      This will happen over MY COLD DEAD BODY!

      No matter where you go, there you are.

      • #2089013 Reply

        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        I don’t care one way or another who does what with the feature. I’m just pointing out that it does not affect retail Office customers only enterprises. And enterprises are the ones most likely to have administrators who can and will set policy to prevent the change.

        If you choose to block the extension – go for it. Great.

        --Joe

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2088798 Reply

      PerthMike
      AskWoody Plus

      Just reviewed and reported the extension on the Google Chrome store for abuse.

      No matter where you go, there you are.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2088927 Reply

      steeviebops
      AskWoody Lounger

      Got the e-mail to my global admin account this morning. Mods, feel free to delete if this isn’t suitable.

       

       

      New Feature: Office 365 ProPlus, changes to browser default search engine
      Major update: Announcement started
      Applied To: All

      Beginning with Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, Microsoft will install a browser extension that makes Bing the default search engine for Google Chrome, providing the benefits of Microsoft Search in the browser to those end users.

      This browser extension is scheduled to be available in Monthly Channel (Targeted) in February 2020.
      It is expected to be released to Monthly Channel in early March 2020.
      It will be included in the upcoming releases for Semi-Channel (Targeted) and Semi-Annual Channel.

      This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 59917.

      Note: This change only applies to devices in certain locations, based on the IP address of the device. At this time, countries include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As we add locations, we will notify you through Message Center.

      [How does this affect me?]

      New installations of Office 365 ProPlus will include this extension. When you update your existing installation of Office 365 ProPlus, the extension is included unless Bing is already the default search engine in your tenant. The extension sets Bing as the default search engine by default; users may turn it off via the extension toggle.

      As part of Microsoft 365, Microsoft Search is on by default for all Microsoft apps that support it. Microsoft Search provides contextual work-related information using data sources in Office 365, including SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and Exchange.

      With Bing as the default search vehicle for Google Chrome, those users will be able to access Microsoft Search directly from their browser address bar when they are signed in with their work or school account. This browser access to work-related search is known as Microsoft Search in Bing.

      The first time your users open Google Chrome after the extension for Microsoft Search in Bing is installed, they will see a Welcome screen:

      Welcome screen mockup

      Mockup of a Welcome screen in Chrome browsers (subject to change).

      Your end users may disable the extension by

      Clicking its icon to the right of the URL bar;
      Then toggling off Use Bing as your default search engine; and
      Restarting the browser.

      Extension toggle mockup

      Mockup of the search toggle in Chrome browsers (subject to change).

      Once this feature has rolled out, your end users can change their search engine preferences only via the toggle in the extension; they cannot modify the default search engine in browser preferences.

      Although this feature is rolling out initially for Google Chrome, support for Firefox is planned. We will advise you of updates in a future Message Center post.

      Microsoft Search does not use searches in your organization to improve public web results or to improve Bing, and Microsoft Search does not let advertisers target anyone within your organization.

      [What do I need to do to prepare for this change?]

      If you don’t want Bing to be the default search engine for Google Chrome, there are several ways to block the installation.

      You must exclude the extension before you install or update to a version of Office 365 ProPlus that installs the extension for Microsoft Search in Bing. Implementing the exclusion after the extension has been installed will not remove the extension.

      For new installations of Office 365 ProPlus, the Office Deployment Tool may be the best method, as outlined in this support document
      For existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus, modifying the Group Policy may be best. Enable the policy setting Don’t install extension for Microsoft Search in Bing, which makes Bing the default the search engine.
      If you use Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (current branch), from the Features section, set Microsoft Search as default to the Off position.
      If you use Microsoft Intune to deploy Office 365 ProPlus, clear the check box Microsoft Search as default on the Configure App Suite pane.

      If you have already made Bing the default search engine for your tenant, the extension will not be installed, and your end users will not be able to change the default search engine.

      Learn more

      If you decide to deploy Microsoft Search in Bing in your organization, see our Microsoft Search in Bing Adoption Kit for resources to help communicate the benefits of this work-related search change to your users. Plan your content to make Microsoft Search more helpful in your organization.

      Find what you need with Microsoft Search in Bing
      Getting started with Microsoft Search in Bing and Office 365 ProPlus
      Set Bing as the default search engine in your tenant now
      What your users will see with Microsoft Search in Bing

      Additional Information
      Sign in to the Office 365 Admin center to use the links below:
      View this message in the Office 365 message center
      To customize what’s included in this email, who gets it, or to unsubscribe, set your Message center preferences.
      If you are receiving this email because your Admin added you as a recipient, please contact your Admin to unsubscribe.
      Edit release preferences
      Choose the release track for your organization. Use these settings to join First Release if you haven’t already.

      Microsoft respects your privacy. To learn more, please read our Privacy Statement.
      Microsoft Corporation
      One Microsoft Way
      Redmond, WA, USA 98052

      • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  steeviebops.
      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2088944 Reply

        PKCano
        Da Boss

        Once this feature has rolled out, your end users can change their search engine preferences only via the toggle in the extension; they cannot modify the default search engine in browser preferences.

        Although this feature is rolling out initially for Google Chrome, support for Firefox is planned. We will advise you of updates in a future Message Center post.

        The implications are that MS can modify any software installed on the computer to their liking/use. And the fact that the user can’t modify the default seems to imply that it is still there and possibly active, even when the user has made the change.

        How can MS get away with this legally?

        11 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2088959 Reply

          woody
          Da Boss

          How can MS get away with this legally?

          My guess is that they can’t, unless they have Google’s (and, later, Mozilla’s) explicit permission. Even then, I doubt the the EU will stand for it.

          Remember this is for Office 365 ProPlus, which is ostensibly a corporate product (although in practice not every ProPlus customer is attached to a well-managed network).

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2089186 Reply

            ryegrass
            AskWoody Plus

            According to this Arstechnica article, MS will use IP data to determine where the user lives before changing the default search engine.

            “This new policy only takes places in specific geographic areas, as determined by a user’s IP address. If you aren’t in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, the UK, or the United States, you should be safe—for now, at least, and assuming you don’t take your laptop on holiday or work-related travel to one of those countries during a time an Office update rolls out. Microsoft says it may add new locations over time but will notify administrators through the Microsoft 365 admin center if and when it does.”

            https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/01/microsofts-sneaky-plan-to-switch-chrome-searches-from-google-to-bing/

            Sorry, I see steeviebops already reported this.

            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  ryegrass. Reason: Information already reported
        • #2089140 Reply

          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          Mozilla’s Firefox currently gives you the option to pick Bing if you so choose.  I can’t believe for a minute that Mozilla would allow MS’s Bing to be the only search engine.  Ludicrous.

          Win 7 Still Alive, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2088960 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Microsoft respects your privacy.

        And they show how MUCH they respect your privacy with antics like this.

        Pull the other one, Microsoft.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2089201 Reply

      Norio
      AskWoody Plus

      Günter Born (https://borncity.com/win/2020/01/23/news-from-microsoft-about-chrome-and-edge/#more-12743) has noted that Martin Geuß found a Microsoft blog post (https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/office-365-blog/introducing-and-managing-microsoft-search-in-bing-through-office/ba-p/1110974) showing a screen shot of a dialogue box that will supposedly appear the first time a user runs Chrome after the extension is installed.  It gives a choice of using Bing or not:Mockup

       

      Attachments:
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2089241 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Plus

        It doesn’t appear automatically, so many users won’t know how to change back:

        Change whether Bing is the default search engine for Google Chrome
        If your users decide they want to stop using Bing as their default search engine, they can click on the magnifying glass icon next to the address bar in Google Chrome and click the Use Bing as your default search engine toggle to the Off position. For the change to take effect, they need to close Google Chrome and then open it again.
        What your users will see with Microsoft Search in Bing

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2100088 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      How to block the installation of the add-on :

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

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

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

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

      https://www.ghacks.net/2020/01/23/microsoft-will-install-a-bing-search-extension-in-chrome-on-some-customer-systems/

    • #2100196 Reply

      Mr. Natural
      AskWoody Plus

      I’m going to throw out a conspiracy theory . It crossed my mind when Woody mentioned the EU will not put up with that. That was my thought as well.

      Many recall when Microsoft “integrated” IE into Windows and was later fined by the EU and forced to change that. Microsoft has a history of aggressively pushing a new agenda they feel is important or for whatever reason. Sometimes they get in trouble for pushing something people don’t want. Many times we see Microsoft heavily push something new and over time they abandon the technology due to failure of adaptation or other reasons.

      Windows Live immediately comes to mind but there are others. Windows Store seems to be fading. When Windows 10 came out we saw the push for Cortana. It seems to me it was not very popular possibly because of suspicion of privacy concerns.

      When 1903 came out I read the documentation and Microsoft stated that turning off “allow backgroud apps” to run would create problems with Cortana and sure enough it caused problems in our organization until I changed the group policy to allow all background apps to run. So clearly something going on there behind the scenes. It seems to me Microsoft still wasn’t happy with their “telemetry”, search functions and whatever other information they want to collect from their OS. So they now force something else on users in an attempt to collect searches and overall user activity in a manner they prefer to achieve their goals.

      A lot of folks will continue to be in an uproar over this and their privacy but as I think about it there could be something good coming from it. This could be beneficial in regards to monitoring and managing sources of malware and phishing sources, etc.

      It seems all corporations are going in the direction of gathering information for various reasons. Cisco has been doing this very well with Talos for quite a while now. Every packet of information that passes through a Cisco router can be tracked and traced. It’s how a lot of illegal activity in the cyber world has been discovered and prosecuted.

      End of wall of text.  🙂

      Red Ruffnsore reporting from the front lines.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2100210 Reply

      UncleRemus83
      AskWoody Lounger

      Welcome to the “cloud” future.  Remember how Microsoft has always told us that we only buy a license to use the software, and not the software itself?  Well thanks to “cloud” mania, they finally have that control they always wanted.  In the past you bought Windows and got it on some DVD’s and what you did with it, nobody knew.  Not anymore.  Windows and Office are phoning home to Microsoft constantly, and Microsoft has the ability to turn things on or off on their own whim without your input at all.  Its what they’ve always wanted.

      Didn’t want this add on in Chrome?  Too bad!  You agreed to it in the EULA for your Office 365 subscription.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2100437 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Plus

        Didn’t want this add on in Chrome?  Too bad!  You agreed to it in the EULA for your Office 365 subscription.

        I doubt it. Which section says Microsoft has the right to configure software from another company?

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2100220 Reply

      jhvance
      AskWoody Lounger

      Bing is set as the default search engine when ‘Chredge’ is installed, just as it was when a user launched ‘Edge’ for the first time, but the new version’s “advanced” setting for changing the list of search engines and setting the default is far more deeply hidden in the UI than it formerly was.

      Since I’m not a fan of Bing I was determined to reset it to DuckDuckGo, so I spent the time and effort to accomplish that task and it can be done easily once you dig deeply enough.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2100232 Reply

      rc primak
      AskWoody_MVP

      So how is this any different from every month, a Microsoft Windows Update changes all my O&O ShutUp 10 settings for privacy back to where Microsoft wants them? I have to reset ShutUp 10 (often requiring downloading a new version) almost every month.

      How is this any different?

      Fortunately, ShutUp 10 saves a configuration file — otherwise getting back to my choices would be a real ordeal.

      And if you think for one minute that Mozilla will allow any such behaviors regarding Firefox, you are truly delusional!

      -- rc primak

      • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by  rc primak.
      • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by  rc primak.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2100246 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Plus

        How is this any different?

        Shutup10 changes Windows settings. Microsoft doesn’t change Shutup10 settings.

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

        • #2100263 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          Yes, Microsoft Updates do change ShutUp 10’s settings. That is my entire point in saying I have to use the ShuhtUp 10 Config File to restore the settings each month.

          -- rc primak

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2100363 Reply

            b
            AskWoody Plus

            I don’t think you understand how that program works. Shutup10 reads Windows settings from Microsoft keys in the registry and compares them with its own settings in its OOSU10.ini file, so that you can accept or reject any changes (to Microsoft’s Windows settings). O&O changes Microsoft’s Windows settings when you reject or tweak, but Microsoft doesn’t change O&O settings in that Shutup10 file.

            OOSU10RevertReset

            OOSU10FollowChanges
            (From O&O Shutup10’s Help, Short Guide)

            Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

            Attachments:
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2110918 Reply

              rc primak
              AskWoody_MVP

              Now I see what you’re saying. But that doesn’t mean a Microsoft Cumulative Update won’t restore Microsoft’s idea of what my settings in Windows 10 should be, making it necessary to re-establish the changes which ShutUp 10 makes.

              So technically, Microsoft is not messing with the ShutUp 10 program’s operations. But the effect is identical to what would happen if they did.

              Hence the need to retain the ShutUp 10 Config File.

              -- rc primak

        • #2100267 Reply

          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          My experience is that Microsoft does change my Windows 10 settings.

          After Microsoft pushed me from Windows 10 1809 to 1903 I had to go back in and reset all my privacy and other settings.

          • #2110924 Reply

            rc primak
            AskWoody_MVP

            What @b is saying, and he is technically correct, is that Windows never changes the ShutUp 10 config file, and never makes changes to the ShutUp 10 program. Like anything which tweaks Windows, ShutUp 10 changes settings in Windows, not the other way around.

            (This is me posting again, not speaking for @b.) But when an Windows Update resets things which were changed by a tweaking program, there is a need to keep track of what the tweaking program has changed so that the changes can be restored quickly and easily. That’s what the config file is for.

             

            -- rc primak

    • #2100248 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      How is this any different?

      Shutup10 changes Windows settings. Microsoft doesn’t change Shutup10 settings.

      Microsoft doesn’t respect nor honor users settings.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2100249 Reply

        b
        AskWoody Plus

        Microsoft doesn’t respect nor honor users settings.

        Microsoft never changes my settings.

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

        • #2100265 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          I believe your experience is the exception rather than the rule. It also may depend on how we customize (or don’t) our Windows setups.

          -- rc primak

          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2110873 Reply

          AlexEiffel
          AskWoody_MVP

          Oh, you never change the default settings? 😉

          Sorry for the friendly joke, that one was too good to pass. For once, I could pull a b on you.

          I change defaults and Microsoft changed some settings after feature updates. PKCano which have a lot of credibility here has also said that it does in the past if I my memory isn’t failing me.

          1 user thanked author for this post.

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