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Microsoft Readies Enterprises for Microsoft 365 Bing Switch Option

Microsoft recently shared more details about its plan to offer Microsoft 365 enterprise subscribers the ability to opt into using Microsoft Search in Bing.

The Microsoft Search in Bing switching capability was previously described by Microsoft as being enabled via a browser extension. It permits IT pros to optionally change the search engines in Chrome and Firefox browsers to Bing.

Initially, the coming Microsoft Search in Bing extension wasn't going to be optional. Microsoft had announced plans to turn it on for subscribers. Later, Microsoft backtracked on those plans after hearing complaints. The Microsoft Search in Bing extension is now an opt-in capability that needs to be turned on by IT pros if it's wanted.

Organizations may still recall Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise by its original "Office 365 ProPlus" name. On April 21, Microsoft changed that product's name, among others, as previously announced. Essentially, the product didn't change, just the name. Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise is a collection of productivity applications, such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word and more.

Office Version 2005 Target
The ability to switch the search engines in Chrome and Firefox browsers will be available with "version 2005 of Office," Microsoft's announcement indicated.

Organizations opting to get monthly updates for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise could see a checkbox search-engine switch option in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center portal as early as this month, according to this Microsoft document, which shows partial information on version 2005's release schedule.

The checkbox switching option will just be available in the following country locations for now, per the document:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Requirements
There also are a few requirements associated with being able to use the Microsoft Search in Bing extension. For instance, Microsoft stipulated that it'll only be available to "AD [Active Directory]-joined devices at this time."

In addition, a "background service" for Microsoft Search in Bing needs to be in place on client machines to use the extension, which will happen with a coming Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise update. It's possible to block this coming background service update by making configuration changes using the "Office Deployment Tool or Group Policy," the document indicated.

The document included a note that "the background service is not installed if the device is joined only to an Azure Active Directory (AAD) domain."

Microsoft is targeting Google Chrome browsers first with the Microsoft Search in Bing extension. It'll also come to Firefox browsers, which is "planned for a later date" and will be announced later, according to the document.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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