It’s got to be tough running a search engine when your competition is so ubiquitous that people use its product’s name as a verb, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft is about to give up on Bing. The search engine is slowly but surely growing in popularity, and this summer it’s going to beef up its security too.
Encrypted search has been an option available to Bing users for roughly a year and a half now, but it hasn’t been turned on by default as it is for Google users. Even Yahoo, which is powered by Bing, turns this option on by default. Fortunately, Bing has decided to adopt this practice as well starting this summer.
Bing will still pass along referrer strings in searches, which let webmasters see that the traffic to their sites came from Bing, but in order to protect users’ privacy, the actual query that led users to a site will no longer be included. Marketers can still use Bing Webmaster Tools to get an overview of search terms and keyword rankings, but this will not expose users’ personal information.
“Microsoft has a long history and deep commitment to helping protect our customers’ data and the security of their systems,” senior product manager for Bing Duane Forrester wrote in the blog post announcing the upcoming switch. “While this change may impact marketers and webmasters, we believe that providing a more secure search experience for our users is important.”
While this might seem like too little too late, it could also be seen as better late than never. And it’s important to note that Bing is still on the rise. Earlier this year we reported that Bing’s share of the search market had risen to 20 percent for the first time ever since its launch in 2009. And Bing has further room to grow as well, as in addition to powering Yahoo search, it’s also the default search engine for Amazon’s Silk browser as well as Apple’s Siri and Spotlight.
There is no word on when exactly the change to encrypted search by default will happen, but considering that the first day of summer is only a few days away, it could be soon.
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