Microsoft has listened to customer feedback and reversed its plan to change default search browsers to Bing upon installation of Office 365 ProPlus. The Microsoft Search in Bing Extension will now be optional.
The plan was to, in an upcoming version of an Office 365 patch (2002 specifically), install a Google Chrome extension that would make Bing the default search engine, even if it had previously been set to Google or something else. That change would have affected both existing and new installations of Office 365 where Chrome was installed.
The idea was that Microsoft Search, combined with Bing, would allow a single interface from which users can search for content saved within their organizations as well as online. Overall, the theory behind the integrated search was not as bad as many have made it out to be. Many users appreciate the efficiency of unified searching. Changing a preferred browser, however, can seem intrusive and proved to be an unpopular proposal. Microsoft wrote in its update:
“We heard that customers don’t want Office 365 ProPlus to change search defaults without an opt-in, and they need a way to govern these changes on unmanaged devices. Based on your feedback, we are making a few changes to our plan. The Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension will not be automatically deployed with Office 365 ProPlus.”
The deployment team here at Kraft Kennedy had an inkling this would be unpopular with users, and had already found a way to skip it during installation by either modifying the Office installation package or downloading the latest Office ADMX files and setting a Group Policy to block the extension installation. (And, in case the extension manages to make its way onto some machines accidentally, there would be an uninstall command line available).
Now, Microsoft writes, “Through a new toggle in Microsoft 365 admin center, administrators will be able to opt in to deploy the browser extension to their organization through Office 365 ProPlus.”
Users at organizations that have opted in to the Microsoft Search in Bing Extension will still be able to set their preferred browser.
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