Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

With the rollout of AI features to Bing, Microsoft actually gave people a reason to use it over Google. Sadly, though, as generative AI is landing everywhere (including on Google), the novelty is starting to wear off, and people are starting to see Bing the way they’ve always seen it. Microsoft’s answer to this? It looks like the company is taking a page from malware developers and pushing pop-ups trying to remind you that, yes, Bing exists and it’s so much better than Google.

As reported by The Verge, Microsoft is trying out a pop-up that can be shown over your desktop and even under full-screen apps. The pop-up detects if you have set Google as your default search engine, even if you’re not using Microsoft Edge, and instructs you to please switch it to Bing. If your default browser is Google Chrome, the pop-up doesn’t care about it, and still asks you to switch your default Chrome search engine to Bing.

Bing Pop Up
Microsoft / The Verge

What’s worse, this pop-up doesn’t seem to use Windows’ regular notification system or is even a part of any other app. Rather, it looks like it’s just a rogue application that randomly appeared, but it’s signed by Microsoft and pops up whenever it feels like it. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s signed by Microsoft, the developer of the operating system, one would think this is just adware. It’s not clear if the message only appears on Windows 11, or if it was added to Windows 10 as well.

Microsoft’s shady and occasionally funny practices to try and convince people to use Edge and Bing have been documented online several times, but this might be the most egregious example so far. A prompt for you to change your search engine has no business being an intrusive popup, at the very least, and ideally shouldn’t be part of the operating system at all. When reached for comment by The Verge, Microsoft said that “we are aware of these reports and have paused this notification while we investigate and take appropriate action to address this unintended behavior.” As such, it might not roll out for you. Still, this is really creepy, and we hope that Microsoft completely cans it.

Source: The Verge

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By John P.

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