Microsoft continues to aggressively promote its own services to Google Chrome users. Latest technique: the display of Bing notifications over full screen applications. Following the general outcry, Microsoft had to take action.
We’ve known it for at least 15 years: Microsoft REALLY wants you to use its own tools on Windows, failing to update your machine to the new version of the operating system. The OS has an annoying tendency to suggest its own software offering when you install that of the competitors. And recently, Microsoft would be very happy if you used Bing instead of Google to do your research on the web.
Last week, several Chrome users complained that they received many windows pop-up encouraging them to change their default search engine to Bing. The key: Microsoft Rewards points and an improved search experience thanks to AI. But obviously, this notification was displayed, regardless of the user’s settings and in particular overlaying full-screen applications such as games or streaming. Following the rumble, Microsoft announces “suspend this notification while they investigate“.
A sneaky notification to promote Bing
Some users were able to trace the origin of the notification to the BGAUpsell.EXE service (“upsell” meaning “incite to sell” in French) running in the background on all Windows 11 and 10 machines. executable has the attribute “IsEdgeUsedInLast48Hours” which appears to check if the Microsoft Edge browser has been used on machines in the last 48 hours. So it is Microsoft’s browser and search engine that are aggressively suggested to users. Especially since these notifications completely ignore the “concentration” parameters supposed to prevent any disturbance of this nature.
Microsoft is obviously not at its first attempt: last week, the Google Chrome installer was reported as dangerous if it had been downloaded from the Edge browser. At the beginning of the year, the download page of Google’s browser, if consulted from that of Microsoft, displayed banners discouraging people from taking the plunge. Overall, many notifications then appear to prevent as much as possible that the user decides to go to his direct competitor.
If we welcome the progress of Microsoft Edge, both in terms of speed and functionality, the incentives of the Redmond firm to use its own browser darken the picture.