Microsoft Restricts Windows 10 Cortana Searches to Bing and Edge
Windows 10 users who launch searches with Cortana, Microsoft's digital personal assistant, will no longer be able to view results using Google, Chrome or other browsers or search engines. That's because Cortana searches on Windows 10 will now work only with Microsoft's own Edge browser and Bing search engine, the company said yesterday.
The change was made to ensure users of a "personalized, end-to-end search experience," general manager of search and Cortana Ryan Gavin said yesterday on the Windows Experience blog. "The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can't depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser," he said.
However, critics of the change have pointed out that the new restrictions are likely related to Microsoft's desire to protect the ad revenues it generates through Bing searches. With last year's introduction of Windows 10, Edge and a substantially updated Cortana, those revenues have recently seen double-digit growth.
Others 'Not Designed To Work with Cortana'
While the Windows 10 launch made Edge the default browser and pushed searches through Bing, Edge's default search engine, users had been able to change their preferences to other browsers and search engines. Doing so, however, wasn't easy because "there is no option for designating a different search engine preference in Microsoft's centralized default manager," Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan said in an analysis yesterday.
With the latest change announced by Microsoft, even the difficult-to-enable workarounds some users have adopted will no longer work if they want to launch searches with Cortana.
"Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana," Gavin said. "The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable."
Windows 10 Boosting Search Ad Revenues
As of yesterday, Gavin noted that, "to ensure we can deliver the integrated search experience designed for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge will be the only browser that will launch when you search from the Cortana box." However, he added that users can continue to "use your search engine and browser of choice on Windows 10."
Since yesterday's update, several observers have pointed out that Microsoft's stance is little different from, say, Apple's or Google's. For example, the intelligent assistant Google Now works only with Google as its search engine.
For Microsoft, the change also appears to make sense from an earnings standpoint. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, released last week, the company announced that search advertising revenues for the quarter had grown by 18 percent "with continued benefit from Windows 10 usage." More than 35 percent of search revenues last month came through Windows 10, CEO Satya Nadella said.
In February, Google led with 64.0 percent of "powered by" search results in desktop searches in the U.S., with 32.8 percent of searches powered by Bing, according to data released last month by the cross-platform measurement company comScore.
Image Credit: Windows 10 feature (pictured above) via Microsoft.
Posted: 2016-04-30 @ 9:14am PT
Didn't they try this in the 90's with Internet Explorer and got their @sses sued by the Gov?
As far as Android and Apple doing the same, I would say that it is apples and oranges, as much as MS hates to admit it. I buy Android phones specifically for the Google integration. I don't buy a Win10 phone because I do not use MS's integrated services like their One Drive, email, etc.
One of the main reasons I buy a pc instead of Mac is because it is open and I can do what I want with it. Choice and the ability to customize and choose NOT to have the total MS experience is Windows greatest strength over MAC.
If there was a p.c. OS choice that was not Win or Linux or Apple, I would definitly be interested. P.S. remember BeOS? I was sad it failed so quickly.
Posted: 2016-04-30 @ 4:17am PT
it would be ok if bing could actually search what you want, and not what it wants
Posted: 2016-04-30 @ 3:35am PT
Forcing a user to a browser and search engine isn's as absurd as one might think. "siri" does it, "ok google" does it, but when Microsoft does, it people are infuriated.
Posted: 2016-04-29 @ 2:29pm PT
Cortana was the only new feature of Windows 10 that I found attractive. It was a little rough on the edges when I tested it, so I stayed with Windows 7. Now, I would not even consider it. Forcing the user to a browser and search engine you own is absurd.
If both the browser Edge and the search engine Bing were so great no one would want anything else. The fact that users do want Firefox, Chrome and Google tells you Microsoft's products are inferior.