Microsoft tacitly announced last week that it would change the default Chrome to Bing search engine – Microsoft’s own search engine – to PCs with Office 365 ProPlus, the productivity apps that are at the heart of corporate subscriptions.
The exchange of the default search settings in Chrome starts next month and ends in July. The timing depends on when company IT administrators planned to upgrade Office 365 ProPlus.
“Starting with version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, an extension for the Microsoft search in Bing will be installed, which makes Bing the standard search engine for the Google Chrome web browser,” said Microsoft in the Support document announcing Switcheroo. “This extension will be installed on new installations of Office 365 ProPlus or when upgrading existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus.”
Microsoft updates Office 365 ProPlus like Windows 10 twice a year: in late summer (around August) and in late winter or spring (February or March). Just like Windows 10, ProPlus is marked with a four-digit label yymm Format. ProPlus 2002 is not a version of the productivity suite from 18 years ago, but the first to be released in February this year.
ProPlus is included in higher-value Office 365 subscriptions, including Office 365 Enterprise E3, Office 365 Enterprise E5, the corresponding academic and regulatory plans, and even more comprehensive Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5 subscriptions. (Office 365 ProPlus is also available in a standalone version that does not use the usual subscription services.) It is not part of Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Business Apps or Microsoft 365 Business – all designed for small businesses – or for consumers – Degree plans Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Home.
Also not included in the switch: the “perpetual” license versions of Office such as Office 2019 or Office 2016.
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“If you make Bing the default search engine, Google Chrome users in your company can use Microsoft search, including direct access to relevant job information from the browser’s address bar,” said Microsoft.
Chrome is thus on a par with Microsoft’s Chromium-based edge browser, launched a week ago. Edge, which is not surprisingly using Bing as a standard search, can search certain company information – especially documents and other files stored on OneDrive or SharePoint – from the address of the browser, but also search team chats and the like.
Users must be signed in to their account, which they can use to access both their PC and Office 365 to use these search tools.
IT administrators can prevent Microsoft from moving and block the installation of the Chrome add-on by setting a group policy or configuring Office 365 with Intune or Configuration Manager. This has to be done In front Office 365 2002 arrives with the extension. IT can uninstall the add-on using a script or Configuration Manager as soon as it is available. Individual users can also reset Chrome’s default search engine to what it was before Microsoft’s intervention (most likely Google).
Microsoft said the Chrome search switch would, at least initially, only be on devices in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Since Office 365 ProPlus 2002 will be the final upgrade to Windows 7 PCs – after that Microsoft will only provide the operating system with security patches for the applications when it is retired – the change to the standard search from Chrome to Bing will probably also be made on these computers. It was unclear whether Macs with ProPlus – the systems that come under Office 365 enterprise plans – would also get the Chrome add-on.
Microsoft also said that it had plans to replace the default search in Mozilla’s Firefox “at a later date,” but no more specifically than this. “We will keep you updated on the Microsoft 365 Admin Center and this article about Firefox support,” the support document said.
Not surprisingly, the initial feedback on Microsoft’s plan has been almost entirely negative. People Really I don’t like people playing around with their software settings.
“You’re out of your mind?” asked someone identified as thx1200 in a comment attached to the Microsoft support document that announced the exchange. “Who lit the green? This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of, and that’s what I say as a daily Bing user. Nobody wants an app to change the default search engine. Remove this & # 39; feature & # 39; , or you may find a lot of them. ” People suddenly switch to Google Docs. ”
“Browser hijacking like you did in the 90s. Are you crazy?” questioned kgbvax in another comment. “I have no words. When will (Microsoft) stop pushing unwanted” functions “into our throats? The old Microsoft is apparently back. Please don’t go through this.”
Others used phrases like “insanely stupid”, “keep smoking the good stuff, Microsoft” and “sick joke” in their comments.
Elsewhere, users continued to criticize the scheme reddit.com as well as IT administrators at the PatchManagement.org Mailing list. An article on Microsoft Office Deployment Insiders user voice, in which testers can vote for feedback or feature requests, also gained momentum on Wednesday, doubling the number of votes in less than a few hours. From 5 p.m. ET Wednesday the “Don’t push Bing to force default search engine” had collected 160 votes, accompanied by almost three dozen comments.