Microsoft has announced a big change for how the Cortana search box in Windows 10 will work going forward: all searches will be powered by Bing and all links will open with the Edge browser. This is a server-side change going into effect today. Once it takes effect on your Windows 10 computer, Cortana will no longer be able to serve up results from third-party search providers, like Google or Yahoo, nor take you to a third-party browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
To be clear, you will still be able to set whatever you want as the default, default search engine or default browser in Windows 10. This only impacts the Cortana search box in the bottom left corner on the Windows 10 taskbar, which lets you search across apps, documents, settings, and the Web with the help of Microsoft’s digital assistant.
So why is Microsoft making this change? The company says it all comes down to the Cortana experience: she is powered by Bing (completely true) and she needs Edge for some of her features to work (but not all, or even most).
“Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana,” Ryan Gavin, Microsoft’s general manager of search and Cortana, said in a statement.
“The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can’t depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing – all designed to do more for you.”
Cortana was designed to work with Microsoft Edge and is powered by Bing.
Here are a few examples of how this integrated experience can enable Windows 10 to anticipate your needs, help you complete tasks, and even help you save time and money:
- Search for “Pizza Hut” in the Cortana box and, once you’re on the Pizza Hut website in Microsoft Edge, Cortana can show you your closest locations.
- Search for “Bluetooth not working” in the Cortana box and Bing gives you a rich video help answer only available on Windows 10 as a Bing search result.
- Shopping for a new black dress in Microsoft Edge, do an image search in Bing and then right click a dress to Ask Cortana to get you more information on it.
- Search for “Best Buy” in the Cortana box, click through on the top web result to bestbuy.com, and Cortana will offer up coupons to save you money. The list goes on and on.
So yes, this feature, and others that Microsoft undoubtedly has in the works (“end-to-end personal search experiences,” the company calls them), are not possible if the Cortana search box has been set to use something other than Bing and Edge. For example, Gavin says that one day users will be able to tell Cortana: “get tickets to Rihanna show” and she’ll find the best tickets based on your preferences, and even offer to buy them for you.
That said, all your other searches that work just the same (or maybe even better) with third-party search engines and browsers — they also now have to go through Bing and Edge. Whether you like it or not, the Cortana search box (which by the way you can remove from the taskbar) is now a Microsoft-only affair.
As we look ahead, we are continuing to invest in these end-to-end personal search experiences and you will begin to see even more benefits from this integration. This includes scenarios like searching “get tickets to Rihanna show” in the Cortana box, where Microsoft Edge opens to Bing, and Cortana finds the best tickets for your preferences and offers to purchase them on your behalf. Or when you search “catch me up on the election” in the Cortana box, Microsoft Edge opens to Bing, and a dynamic reading list is created with the latest election news for your Microsoft Edge reading list. – Reported Microsoft