Microsoft’s search engine Bing has announced that it will encrypt all of its search traffic by default this summer. Bing had already offered optional encryption, but soon it will be a default for everyone.
This levels up Bing to match the security standards of the other big search giants like Google and Yahoo, and the added encryption also makes Bing a worthy search engine competitor. Google first made all search encrypted by default in 2013. Yahoo did so in 2014.
Like Google, however, Bing will still report referrer data to marketers, although Bing will not let the marketers know what the search term was. This means that if a Bing user clicks on an ad after searching for something, the advertiser will know that Bing is what brought that customer to the website but they will not know what the precise term was that was typed into the search bar.
While this encryption move may seem like a tiny piece of news, it indicates a new shift toward better privacy standards. With Microsoft joining the ranks of Google and Yahoo in terms of security standards, this marks the first time the top three search engines provide privacy by default, making it much more difficult for external snoopers to know what people are searching for.
It also makes it possible for Bing to further gain a search engine edge. Though Google still is king, Microsoft has been working to give itself an edge on mobile — Siri uses Bing search by default, for example.
But the main question for Microsoft is still whether its move towards an encrypted Bing search engine will be noticed by the average user, and whether it will convince any Google or Yahoo fans to make the switch.