Microsoft thinks stuffing Bing ads into Google Chrome is offering its customers 'choice,' except it really isn't that

 Bing search.
Bing search.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft finds itself at the heart of more controversy with Windows users reporting ads popping up inside Google Chrome for Bing and Copilot AI.

  • Some were concerned it was actually malware, but Microsoft has since confirmed it is deliberate and intended behavior.

  • This isn't the first time Microsoft has hit the headlines for interfering with Google Chrome, with a recent issue concerning Edge hijacking Chrome data.

  • Please, just stop it, Microsoft.

Oh, Microsoft, what are you up to this time? Windows users have been taking to the web in places such as Reddit to report sketchy looking ads for Bing search and AI inside their Google Chrome browser. The first concern for many is that it was actually malware.

Alas, it is not.

As Microsoft has confirmed in a statement to The Verge, this behavior is deliberate and is working as intended. The statement provided by Caitlin Roulston, Microsoft Director of Communications, suggests that the company is doing this under the false guise of offering its customers a choice. We can dismiss it, after all!

Obviously Microsoft wants us to use Bing, and especially wants us to use Copilot. That much is understandable, but this type of behavior reeks of the old Microsoft. Frankly, it's an abuse of its position as the maker of Windows. Do you think Microsoft would allow Google to toss up a similar pop-up to someone using the Edge browser?

The only good part of all this is that it's only supposed to appear once. So you either click on it and have Bing automatically set as your default search engine in Chrome, or dismiss it and never see it again. Or until Microsoft decides it didn't get enough clicks from it and tries again.

Microsoft should not be interfering with another company's application, period

Chrome AI themes
Chrome AI themes

Obviously, given the name over the door on this here website, we have a predisposition towards Microsoft products. I use Bing every day as my personal search engine, and I use Copilot. I enjoy both. But I made that choice of my own free will.

In no rational world is stuffing a sketchy looking ad pop-up atop another company's application giving users "choice." It's invasive, for one, and Microsoft should absolutely not be touching Google Chrome at all. We already had the recent controversy where Microsoft Edge was hijacking Google Chrome data, and this is far from the first time Windows users have been served up irritating ads to use Bing.

I'm more tired of the browser/search engine wars than I am of the seemingly never-ending console wars. At least in the case of the latter, it's mostly the customers who stoke the flames. Google is far from a shining beacon of reason, I firmly believe the world has failed itself by allowing it to become the arbiter of the Internet. But as with Edge, this is not the way to get people to switch.

We know how good Edge is as a browser, likewise Bing as a search engine, but we're immersed in the Microsoft ecosystem every single day. What I don't see is Microsoft trumpeting why people should switch. Instead, we just get crap like this trying to catch people off guard and essentially trick them into adding to Microsoft's user count. Show the people why your stuff is better than Google's or leave them the hell alone.