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Microsoft Promotes Bing via Popup Ads to Windows Users Once Again

Image Source: Volodymyr Kyrylyuk / Shutterstock

Microsoft has once more displayed a popup ad promoting its Bing search service to Chrome users on Windows computers.

The popup appeared to users launching Chrome on their Windows devices, presenting a message inviting users to “Chat with GPT-4 for free on Chrome! Get hundreds of daily chat turns with Bing AI”.

To proceed, users only needed to click on the “yes” button, setting Bing as the default search engine in Google Chrome and adding the Bing Service to improve the chat experience.

By selecting “yes”, Bing would become the default search engine in Google Chrome, and the Bing Chrome extension would be installed.

Google notifies users about the attempt to modify settings and presents an option to revert the change.

In response to inquiries from several news outlets, Microsoft clarified that the popup is a one-time notification enabling users to choose Bing as their default search engine on Chrome. Microsoft stressed the significance of offering customers choices and noted that users could dismiss the notification.

Despite Microsoft’s portrayal of it as a choice for users, the online community has predominantly reacted negatively. Feedback varies from criticism of Microsoft’s influence over the Windows operating system to likening the behavior to that of malware.

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Microsoft’s consistent use of popups to promote its services has proven effective for the company, regardless of the backlash it faces each time.

This is not the first instance of Microsoft using Windows to advertise its products. In 2017, Microsoft employed a popup to push one of its Chrome extensions above Chrome’s taskbar icon.

Additionally, the previous popup ad aimed at Windows desktop users also targeted Chrome users.

In August 2023, a similar popup ad was shown to Chrome users, urging them to switch to Microsoft Bing as the default search engine in Chrome, providing access to Microsoft Rewards and AI. Clicking “yes” would lead to the Bing extension installation.

There was also a recent situation where Edge automatically imported data from Chrome, attributed by Microsoft as a bug. While the browser does offer an option to import Chrome data upon startup, it necessitates manual activation by the user.

This is not about choice

Presenting popup ads to encourage users to switch to Bing or another product can be seen as condescending. Users typically have their preferred setups and services, often involving Google Search in Google Chrome.

The popups offer users limited options; accepting the prompt results in Bing becoming the default search engine in Chrome, coupled with the Bing extension installation. Rejecting the offer could lead to future popup ads from Microsoft.

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It appears Microsoft aims to wear down users until they opt for Bing as the default search engine just to evade the continual popups, representing an abuse of power by Microsoft, especially since there is no permanent “never again” option provided.

Windows lacks clear controls to disable advertisements and popup ads. You can consult a guide on disabling advertising popups in Windows 11 to handle significant offenders.

Closing Thoughts

Microsoft is not the only company using its dominance to endorse its own products. Google has also utilized its platforms to promote the Chrome web browser.

While this does not justify Microsoft’s actions, it underscores that such practices are prevalent.

Image Source: Volodymyr Kyrylyuk / Shutterstock

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