Microsoft blocks Google Chrome & other browsers from Cortana in latest Windows 10 release
Microsoft says blocking third-party browsers & search providers improves user experience and is in keeping with how competitors act with their own digital assistants.
Sorry, Google. You, Firefox, Opera and anyone else with a web browser that competes with Microsoft’s Edge will no longer be able to work within Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant in Windows 10.
Microsoft buried the news today in a blog post about Cortana’s personalization of search results. It gave a few examples of how Cortana already integrates into Edge and Bing — nothing new, as far as I can tell, despite the blog post’s “Delivering Personalized Search Experiences in Windows 10 through Cortana” headline.
Instead, talking about Cortana personalization is really a setup for the actual news, euphemistically referenced in a sub-headline later in the piece that reads, “Protecting the Integrated Search Experience in Windows 10.”
Cortana: Now for Edge only
In that section, Microsoft explains that apparently some software programs out there “circumvent the design of Windows 10” by redirecting to other search engines that are “not designed to work with Cortana.” Here’s the key section:
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.
The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can’t 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.
User choice is a design flaw
Personally, I think Microsoft is taking some big liberties here. I installed Google’s Chrome browser as my default browser on one of my Windows 10 laptops. Google didn’t trick me into doing this. It was a deliberate choice on my part.
As a result, today if I do a search within Cortana, it gives me results that, if I click on them, jump me into Chrome. But shortly, I’ll be forced into Edge against my will, all because Microsoft has unilaterally decided that’s the best “experience” for me.