Microsoft has announced it is to block third-party search engines from within Cortana, the firm’s digital assistant that is built into Windows 10.

In a blog post, the technology firm said that in order to ensure a better service and “integrated search experience”, it would now only open Bing – Microsoft’s search engine – when a search is made via the Cortana text box.

Windows 10 and Cortana

“Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana,” Microsoft said in their blog.

“The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can’t depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser.”

Windows 10
(John Stillwell/PA)

Recently several workarounds have appeared that enable users to see searches through Google rather than Microsoft’s native Bing service.

“Starting today, to ensure we can deliver the integrated search experience designed for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge will be the only browser that will launch when you search from the Cortana box,” said Microsoft in response.

This is not an unusual reaction, with other digital assistants also locking users to a single search engine. Microsoft were also quick to point out that using another search engine or web browser within Windows 10 was still very much possible, adding that they would continue to work hard to keep users in control.