Microsoft Edge can send the results of any search that you run in the browser to Microsoft by default. The feature is not limited to Bing Search, it will notify Microsoft of searches on all search engines, including Google, DuckDuckGo, or StartPage, that Edge users perform, if the setting is enabled.
If you are using Microsoft Edge, either as the primary system browser, or as a secondary browser, or only when opened as the default browser for certain links on the system, you may want to check the settings browser to see if search data is being sent to Microsoft.
When I opened Microsoft Edge today, Microsoft Edge Support showed a pop-up window shortly after starting. He told me that I could help Microsoft improve search and that Microsoft “will collect the results of any searches you do in the browser to improve Microsoft products and services.” The data Microsoft collects is “never associated” with the user or device, Microsoft added reassuringly.
A quick check of the setting revealed that Microsoft Edge had it enabled, as it was before. The setting in question is titled “Help you make Microsoft products better by submitting search results to the Web,” and you can find it in the Privacy section.
How to check if Microsoft Edge is sending search data to Microsoft
- Load edge: // settings / privacy # searchServiceImprovement in the Microsoft Edge web browser; this should load the correct setting right away. Microsoft’s prompt has a “manage setting” button, but it doesn’t reveal the name of the setting, and you’re taken to the top of Edge’s privacy and security settings page.
- Turn off “Help make Microsoft products better by submitting search results on the Web” to turn it off (under Research and Improving Services).
A support page on Microsoft’s website explains what Microsoft collects and how it uses data.
Microsoft may collect:
- the search term
- the search results that appear.
- interaction with search results, including clicked links.
- demographic data.
Other data may be collected, but the above four items are explicitly listed by Microsoft. All data is collected to improve the user experience in Edge, Bing, Microsoft News, and other company services according to Microsoft.
Microsoft claims that it cleans and anonymizes data by “removing data identifying the person or device from which it was collected,” that it does not use the data to “personalize or deliver advertisements,” which ‘It never associates data with an account or device, and the feature is not available on managed devices.
Microsoft, like many other browser manufacturers, changes their browser settings, which many users would object to if asked correctly. The change is made automatically and users must become active to deactivate it, provided they fully understand the implications of activating the feature. Contextual text is written smartly, who wouldn’t want better search results?
Now you: What is your opinion on this?