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Using Chrome? Microsoft Office may soon change your default search engine to Bing

Microsoft Bing
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Companies using Microsoft Office 365 may soon find their search results looking rather different, as an update to the office suite forcibly changes Chrome's default search engine to Bing.

As ZDNet explains, the Microsoft Search in Bing extension for Chrome will be shipped and installed automatically along with a forthcoming update to Microsoft Office 356 ProPlus.

Users in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and India will be first to receive the update, which will start rolling out in February, and Microsoft says other territories won't be far behind.

Searching for answers

As Microsoft explained in a blog post describing the update, Bing extension for Chrome can be toggled off quite simply, and won't be installed at all if users have already opted to make Bing their default search engine.

Nevertheless, the move has dismayed system admins, who don't relish the idea of Microsoft switching their default browser settings without explicit permission.

"This unexpected Chrome browser hijack will confuse and disappoint my end users and create extra helpdesk calls for my org," one admin wrote on GitHub. "Please don't do this."

Microsoft appears to have anticipated this pushback, and has provided instructions on how to disable the extension for different deployment tools. It therefore seems unlikely that the company will backpedal and reverse its decision, and organisations that have committed to using Office 365 will simply have to deal with it.