Microsoft Urges Chrome Users to Switch to Bing via Unblockable Pop-ups

Bing pop-up advertisements have been appearing on Chrome for Windows 10 and 11 users, promoting Bing as a preferable option to Google search. The ads propose that users “Chat with GPT-4 for free on Chrome!” and gain access to “thousands of daily chat turns with Bing Al”. Upon selecting “Yes” to this request, users install the Bing Search Chrome extension, while Bing takes over as the default search engine.

If a user agrees to switch to Bing, another pop-up will emerge from Chrome, asking for confirmation regarding the change of default search engine. It reads, “Did you mean to change your search provider?” followed by the declaration, “The ‘Microsoft Bing Search for Chrome’ extension changed search to use”. Subsequent to this message, a Windows notification arrives, seeming to preempt the Chrome pop-up, warning users not to alter their settings back, or they will be denied access to GPT-4 and DALL-E 3 Bing AI features.

This scenario appears to be a standoff between two parties; one attempting to persuade users towards its AI assistant/search engine, and another trying to maintain its default status. These arguments are becoming increasingly distracting and intrusive to users as they seek to navigate the Internet.

It’s not immediately clear how users can block these pop-ups. Microsoft reportedly confirmed through both Windows Latest and The Verge that these ads are legitimate. The company defended that this might be a beneficial opportunity for users. As per a company representative, this is a one-time notification offering users the freedom of choice to select Bing as their preferred search engine.

Furthermore, the representative added that customers who choose Bing as their default search engine would be rewarded with additional chat opportunities in Copilot when signed in to their Microsoft accounts. They remained mindful of customer’s freedom of choice, adding they always provide an option to dismiss the notification. Meanwhile, Engadget has reached out to Microsoft for further validation but is yet to receive a response.

Windows Latest suggests that this advertisement has stemmed from a “server-side update” rather than being part of a Windows update. The source theorizes that it might be associated with BCILauncher.EXE or BingChatInstaller.EXE, two processes reportedly incorporated into certain Windows systems on March 13.