Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Bada Bing, Bada Boom - IE9 bully tactics

Internet Explorer 9 has made it even more difficult for a lay man to change the default search engine to Google. This is more true for the INDIA specific gallery (it automatically redirects here) than for the parent US based gallery.

The relatively complicated webpage "IE Gallery" used to have the Google add-on on some obscure page 5 earlier. This is now redesigned to completely remove the add-on. Instead you get all sorts of search engines like Bharat Matrimony and Rediff, but Google is hidden deep in the bowels somewhere. Microsoft (correctly) assumes that making it difficult to rip out the slow and lousy Bing will encourage customers to keep the default, and bolster its claims of Bing adoption. 

Here are some easy steps to replace Bing with Google, if you want to. I suggest you also remove and disable all other add-ons and accelerators in the settings page. It increases the speed of IE9 and makes it usable if you HAVE to (such as for some poorly designed financial websites). For everything else, there's Chrome :-)

Step 1 - Go to settings (top right corner) -- Internet Options
Step 2 - Click Settings under the General --> Search tab

Step 3 - Click Find More Search Engines at the bottom of the Search providers tab

Step 4 - Google Search is missing on the Search provider page. Instead you see some useless engines such as Naukri and BharatMatrimony.

Step 5 - This problem is more on the non-United States pages. Notice the language is "Indian English" on top right

Step 6 - Change the language to "United States (English)" on top right

Step 7 - Google search engine is prominently number 1 option on the US IE Gallery. If not, a search will bring it up. Click the image.

Step 8 - Confirm the add-on refers to Google.com and not some micro-site. Add to Internet Explorer. Select MAKE THIS MY DEFAULT SEARCH ENGINE while adding.

Step 9 - Go back to Internet Options, select the Bing engine, and remove it. Also remove any other add-ons or accelerators. This will speed up IE9 load times and running speed.

While I fully support choice, and believe that multiple products are helpful in any market, I do not appreciate the way Microsoft tries to bully its way into the browser market-share earlier and now search engine market-share. It is true that most users are not tech-savvy, so the responsibility is to make it easier for them to select what is best and not make it more complicated!

I have a recent beef with Google too, the way they are forcing Google+ into products such as Picasa and Gmail now. That is not the right way to win hearts and market-share. The old way was better-- make kick ass products!! 

But that's another post... :-)