Microsoft is planning to use the Office 365 installer to forcibly switch Chrome users over to the company’s Bing search engine. Microsoft’s Office 365 ProPlus installer, used by businesses, will include a new Chrome extension next month that switches the default search engine to Bing. New installations of Office 365 ProPlus and updated installs will include the extension, as long as the default search engine in Chrome is not set to Bing.
Microsoft is clearly marketing this to IT admins as enabling its Microsoft Search functionality in Chrome, but it also looks like a stealthy way of pushing people over to using Bing. If Bing is already set as the default search engine in Chrome, then the extension never gets installed. Microsoft is planning to roll this out in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and India next month.
ZDNet notes that IT admins aren’t very happy with the move. A popular thread on Reddit has surfaced, and most admins want this to be optional. Thankfully, admins will be able to block the Chrome extension install through Group Policy, and users will be able to remove it after it has been installed. Office users will also be able to disable Bing as the default search engine through the extension’s settings.