Microsoft is narrowing down the support for the Cortana search box in Windows 10 to only Bing and Edge.
What this entails is that Bing will power all searches, and Edge will run whenever a link is opened. In other words, the virtual assistant won't yield results from third-party services such as Google or Yahoo, and in the same vein, it won't load up third-party browsers such as Chrome or Mozilla Firefox either.
According to Microsoft, this development is to keep the "integrated search experience" intact, and the company points out that the other programs that weren't designed to be compatible with Cortana skirt the overall design, resulting in a "less reliable and predictable" outcome.
"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," Ryan Gavin, general manager for Search and Cortana, says.
Just to be clear on what's happening, the update has an impact only to the Cortana search function, and users can still set their preferred browsers and search engines as default.
Also, before anyone gets their pitchfork out, it should be noted that these terms of exclusivity aren't entirely new. Taking a quick look at the other virtual assistants from Apple and Google, Siri and Google Now are already doing pretty much the same thing: When users do a voice search on them, they open up their respective default search engines that aren't exactly open to customizations.
On an interesting note, it seems quite unlike Microsoft to implement a big move like this without testing it out in the Windows Insiders program.
At any rate, this doesn't sound good for anyone who relies on the Cortana search box to carry out queries through third-party software, not to mention that any limitation such as this typically spells only bad news for many users.