One of the most noticeable new features in Windows 10 is the Search bar next to the Windows Start button in the taskbar. Type anything into that little bar and Windows Search or Cortana (if you’ve enabled Cortana) will bring up content from you computer or the web.

Want to know what time it is in Copenhagen or if it’s going to rain tomorrow? Cortana can tell you right away. Want to launch an app? You can do that too. And if you want to search the web, you can type a query into that box and then click the resulting links to open a web page in your default browser.

google cortana

Since this is Microsoft’s operating system we’re talking about though, it’s no surprise that by default all searches go through the Bing search engine. Want to use Google, DuckDuckGo, or another search engine instead? You can do that… but you’ll need to change your default web browser, since Edge won’t work.

There are at least two ways to use a different search engine with Windows Search: One uses Firefox, the other uses Chrome

Firefox

The simplest is to install Firefox 40 or later.

Then just set Firefox as your default web browser from the Windows Setting menu and choose your default search engine in you Firefox settings.

firefox windows search

Out of the box, Firefox 40 has a box checked that says “user this search engine for searches for Windows.” Since the “search the web” feature in Windows Search will automatically open in your default web browser… and Firefox routes that request through your choice of search engine, you can now effectively send all requests to an alternate search engine.

You can also uncheck this box if you’re cool with using Google as your default search engine for Firefox, but want to use Bing when searching from the Windows Search tool.

Chrome

While Google’s web browser doesn’t have a built-in tool for redirecting Windows searches, there are a few third-party browser extensions that will do the trick.

First you’ll need to set Chrome as your default web browser, and then you’ll want to install an extension such as Chrometana or Bing2Google.

chrometana

What these plugins do is redirect any query sent to Bing to Google or a different search engine. It’s a bit clunkier than the Firefox implantation, because any Bing search is redirected. That means if you try to go to Bing.com to enter a search from the browser itself, you’ll still end up with Google or DuckDuckGo results.

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4 replies on “Windows 10 tip: Use Google for Cortana web searches (with Firefox or Chrome)”

  1. You are right. But I would like if it was possible with using Microsoft Edge. It doesn’t work with it even after changing the default search engine.

  2. Ah, so now Micro$oft and Google can both spy on me at the same time. Purrrrfect…

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