Microsoft serving ads for Bing in Google Chrome


Microsoft is reportedly using pop-up ads within Google Chrome to prompt users to switch their default search engine to Bing.

Increasing numbers of Windows users have observed advertisements for Bing AI and Microsoft’s Bing search engine while browsing in Chrome. If users choose to accept these prompts, Microsoft automatically sets Bing as the new default search engine for Chrome instead of Google.

Malware concerns. Users expressed concerns that the pop-up ads resembled malware, but Microsoft clarified that these prompts are legitimate and should only appear once.

Caitlin Roulston, director of communications at Microsoft, highlighted the company’s motive behind serving the pop-up ad. She emphasized that Microsoft’s aim was to offer users the option to set Bing as their device’s default search engine, thus providing them with choice.

Providing choice. Caitlin Roulston, Microsoft’s director of communications, explained that the tech giant was serving the pop-up ad to give users the choice to make Bing their device’s default search engine. She told The Verge:

  • “This is a one-time notification giving people the choice to set Bing as their default search engine on Chrome.”
  • “We value providing our customers with choice, so there is an option to dismiss the notification.”

Roulston also noted that the pop-up offers an added benefit for Windows users. Accepting it could provide them with extra chat turns in Copilot.

Why we care. Offering users the choice to switch their default search engine could contribute to a more fair search market and provide advertisers with additional options for their ad spend However, if Microsoft aims to effectively encourage users to choose Bing as their default search engine, employing ads that don’t resemble malware would likely be more productive.

What Microsoft is saying. Microsoft did not immediately respond to Search Engine Land’s request for comment.

Why now? The introduction of pop-up ads aimed at facilitating the process of changing the default search engine for Windows users coincides with the ongoing Google antitrust trial. In this trial, Google stands accused of employing unfair tactics to maintain its position as the world’s leading search engine. Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, a key figure in the development of Bing, took the stand during the trial and told the court that individuals lack genuine options when it comes to selecting search engines. He said:

  • “You get up in the morning, you brush your teeth and you search on Google.”
  • “I see search or internet search as the largest software category out there. We are a very very low share player. But we continue to persist in it because we think of it as a software category we can contribute to.”
  • “It’s a hard game to make any breakthroughs, but no one can accuse us of not being persistent.”

Nadella added that the only reason the tech giant decides to remain in the search field is because it wants to “make search more competitive” by running it like a “public utility.”

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Deep dive. Read our U.S. vs. Google antitrust trial updates guide for more information.



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