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Grow Your Business Technology

How to Change the Bing Default in Cortana

image for ymgerman/Shutterstock
ymgerman/Shutterstock
  • Microsoft defaults to the Edge browser when AI Cortana is in use while Apple devices favor Safari browsers.
  • Many users prefer to use Google Chrome as their default.
  • With some effort, you can change your default on most devices, and at least make it easier on others.

Cortana is a great artificial intelligent (AI) assistant designed to help you control your Windows 10 computer or search the web. It works with voice commands or as you type. However, for searching the web, Cortana is hardwired to search using Microsoft's own search engine, Bing. It's also required to default to the company's preferred browser, Microsoft Edge. Microsoft claims this is so Cortana can deliver personalized search results in an end-to-end environment.

Not everyone loves Edge or Bing. If you prefer using other search tools, such as Google, Firefox or Yahoo, there's currently no easy way to make Cortana access them without disabling the AI. There are some workarounds to make Cortana pull up search results from other search engines and web browsers, if you know where to look. In addition to the Cortana interface issue, many users today just prefer to search with Google Chrome. With a market share of 64%  on mobile devices and 67% for desktop/laptop so far in 2019, Google Chrome is the most installed web browser used today.

Unfortunately, there isn't a perfect solution. Cortana will still give you an initial voice answer using information found on Bing. However, by following the steps below, you can change the settings so that expanded search results come from your preferred search engines. You can even have them open in your default web browser, rather than Microsoft Edge.

Download the most recent browser of your choice. Then, in Windows 10 Settings, go to Apps > Default Apps. Select your default web browser to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or whatever you prefer.

Since Cortana will open all search results Microsoft Edge, despite your default browser being something else, you'll need to deflect this action. Edge Deflector is a free program that redirects Windows to open your default browser when it tries to open Edge.

Once you make it so Cortana can only access your default browser, it will still search with Bing. Chrometana is a free Chrome extension that, similar to Edge Deflector, will redirect Cortana from Bing to either Google, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo. You can choose to redirect all Bing searches to your preferred search engine, not just ones from Cortana.

Even though Microsoft's personal, digital assistant Cortana introduced with Windows 10 can prove to be helpful, there are times when you might want to turn it off.

The first thing you'll need to do is open Cortana. One way to do this is by typing "cortana" in the Windows 10 search bar and selecting the Best Match that appears called Cortana & Search Settings.

Once you do this, you'll simply need to click the indicator to 'Off'.

If it is successfully disabled, you will get a notification telling you so and instructions on how to enable Cortana again, if you decide to. If you simply don't plan on using Cortana for some reason or feel like it might be a privacy concern for you, Microsoft provided you with an easy way to disable it for good.

On your Apple Mac, you can make Chrome the default browser as follows: 

  1. Open Chrome, then click Chrome > Preferences from the menu bar or press Cmd+ to go to the settings menu directly.
  2. From the panel on the left side, click "Default Browser."
  3. Under the Default Browser section, click "Make Default."
  4. Next, A dialog box will appear asking if you want to change your default web browser. Click "Use Chrome."
  5. Note, if the "Make Default" choice does not appear, then Chrome is already set as your default browser. 

On your Apple iPhone or iPad, you can't make Chrome your default browser, but you can use a few workarounds that will make it easier to get to.  First, Add Chrome to your dock, following these easy steps:

  1. To free up space on your dock, touch and hold on an app on the dock.
  2. Drag the app up and release it on your home screen.
  3. Touch and hold the Chrome app. 
  4. Drag the Chrome app down and release it on your dock.
  5. Press the Home button. 

Google has also created a workaround that's helpful. If you have several Google apps on your iOS device, they can pass links between them without launching Apple's own apps, keeping you inside Google's software. Follow these instructions to prioritize the use of Chrome: 

  1. In Gmail for iOS, tapSettings from the menu, then choose Default apps. You can set Google Chrome to open when you tap on web links inside Gmail, and Google Maps to open when you follow map links, rather than Apple Safari and Apple Maps, respectively.
  2. There's a similar option in Chrome: If you choose Settings, Content Settings and Default appsfrom the menu, you can opt to compose new emails in Gmail for iOS rather than Apple Mail, as long as you started from Chrome.
  3. You can also set Gmail as your primary mail service whenever you want – it just routes through the iOS Mail app unless you follow this workaround.

With these simple steps, you can make Google Chrome your default on your Android device:

  1. If Chrome is not already installed, get it from the Play Store.
  2. Open the "Settings" app, then tap on "Default" apps.
  3. Next choose "Browser" and then find "Chrome".
  4. Close the settings and your links will open inside Chrome.
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