Cortana Is Now Locked With Bing And Microsoft Edge

Cortana - Windows 10
Cortana - Windows 10

Today, Microsoft has announced a rather controversial and unpopular change for Cortana by locking her to use only Bing search and Microsoft Edge browser. This means, other search engines, or browsers cannot use her.

Starting today, to ensure we can deliver the integrated search experience designed for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge will be the only browser that will launch when you search from the Cortana box.

When Windows 10 was released, Cortana was one of the major selling points for the OS. Cortana is also one of the better virtual assistant in the market and is very different from how “Siri” or “Google Now” works. Cortana is also more than a virtual assistant for Microsoft, as actually helped drive more users into the direction of Bing and the Edge browser.

That is thanks to how Cortana works. Much of her intelligence and “task completion” is tied to Bing searches. The integration with Microsoft Edge pretty much ties those two together in a two-way, back and forth relationship.

While we can understand the business and technical point of view in locking her with Bing, making her only work with Microsoft Edge is controversial. Windows users do not always use Microsoft’s software wholesale. Some have a strong loyalty to other browsers like Chrome or Firefox.

In the past, Cortana is only loosely tied to Edge and Bing. This allowed users of other browsers to use third party extensions to access her within their favorite browser. Unfortunately, Microsoft seem be unhappy about this.

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. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable.

Microsoft justifies this decision by saying how other browsers compromise the Cortana experience. Cortana’s features rely on Bing’s and Edge’s features, none of which are found in other browser and search engine, naturally.

The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana cannot 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.

Microsoft does remind users that they can always change their default browser or search engine. However when it comes to Cortana, you are locked with Bing and Edge.

Of course, you can continue to use your search engine and browser of choice on Windows 10.  They can be accessed and used as you always have.  You can easily use our centralized default manager to choose your preferred default program for everything from browsing to email, and you can configure the search default setting in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, which are available when you directly access those programs.

We can clearly see Microsoft’s need to lock Cortana only with Edge, as they believe this move could push Edge usage stats. However, the reasons they gave for tying Cortana to Edge browser cannot be justified, considering she is already available in iPhone and Android, which uses Safari and Chrome as their respective browsers.

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  1. April 29, 2016

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