Microsoft has backed out of plans to automatically install a Microsoft Search in Bing extension on Office 365 ProPlus user’s Chrome browsers. The change, which was announced on January 22, was met with immediate and severe backlash, but the company maintains that it holds value.
“We’ve heard from many customers who are excited about the value Microsoft Search provides through Bing and the simplicity of deploying that value through Office 365 ProPlus,” said the Office 365 team in a blog post. “With Microsoft Search integrated, Bing becomes a single search engine for users to find what they need – both from inside their organization and the public web.”
Microsoft says it heard concerns about how it wanted to roll this “value” out, and as a result, the extension install will be opt-in, rather than opt-out. This means the extension, which also lets users search their organization’s files, won’t be automatically installed on browsers that don’t have Bing as their default.
This is obviously the right decision and one that should have been made in the first place. While some organizations would benefit from a universal search, others are still very reliant on Google. Forcing another search engine on users just feels like a desperate browser hijack tactic, a practice Microsoft has been trying to eliminate.
From now on, admins will notice that the Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension will be opt-in via a toggle int he Microsoft 365 admin center. The extension will only apply to AD-joined devices even within that opt-in, and users who do get the extension will still have the option to change their search engine. How exactly this tactic got pushed through is unclear, but Microsoft has at least listened to its customers in this case.