Microsoft slipping in Bing Search through Outlook downloads

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Microsoft has brought a lot of great apps to Android but one thing that they’re still failing at is to make their search engine Bing a worth competitor to Google Search. It looks like they’re trying to sneak it into your Android smartphone if you have the Outlook email and calendar app installed. Some users are reporting that Bing Search is showing up as an option on the context menu when you long-press a word, even outside Outlook.

Android Police is reporting that some users are seeing a Bing Search option when you long-press a word or phrase and the context menu pops up. The common thing among users is that they installed Outlook for Android, which is supposedly just for your email and calendar. But the search option also comes out in other places and is actually system-wide. The weird thing is that they have not installed Bing so they are surprised to see that option there.

Microsoft is probably utilizing the feature called contextual text selection which lets developers add options to the pop-up menu for long-pressing on words or phrases. The folks at XDA Developers saw code that mentions “Edge integration” so this may mean it will show up when Microsoft Edge is installed as your default browser. But some say they don’t even have that installed and it’s just Outlook that may be responsible.

There may not be any violation on Microsoft’s part (otherwise, this would have been flagged earlier?) but it’s still a pretty sneaky thing that they’re doing. Given the fact that less than 3% of online searches are even done on Bing, they might think they can use a standard Android feature to suggest it to people using the context menu. It is missing that feature and is an inappropriate way to suggest people use Bing.

Let’s see if Microsoft will respond to people pointing out how this is not okay. Or maybe Google will also say something about it although it may not be such a big deal for them to even comment on it.

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