Microsoft has announced, that this summer, they will finally make all Bing searches encrypted by default. This move adds an additional layer of protection to your searches and makes it significantly harder to eavesdrop on your online activities.
If you thought Microsoft already offered encrypted searches, you are correct, if you go to https://www.bing.com your searches are protected. But, the default page is currently http://www.bing.com, which is unencrypted, this summer, the https site will become the default page.
While this is good news for those of you who use Bing, Microsoft is a bit late to the party; both Yahoo! and Google already have encrypted searches by default.
For advertising purposes, Microsoft will still be able to track your queries so that marketers and advertisers can see what searches triggered their advertisements to be displayed. The company will do this by using a ‘referrer string’ to accomplish this task but the data collected is not enough to identify a specific user.
Microsoft has to stick the right balance between privacy and advertisements, much like Google and Yahoo! too. Because advertising pays the bills of Bing, but privacy is a critical issue for consumers, making sure searches are secure and private but also traceable through non-revealing meta data is the tradeoff for using free search engines.
Even though Microsoft is late to the party, it’s still good to see them formally move towards encryption for all searches on the web to help protect their users.