FAQ: How to add some Bing to your browser

Make Bing a search option, or even the default, in IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari

Microsoft may have seemingly jumped the gun on Bing, the new search engine it unveiled to the public yesterday, but clearly it planned the early launch.

For proof, you need look no further than the Bing search add-on for Internet Explorer (IE) Microsoft posted yesterday. Or for that matter, a similar Bing-specific add-on for IE's biggest rival, the open-source Firefox from Mozilla. Which also hit the street Monday.

Switching search engines in your browser-of-choice isn't tough if you've done it before, but for first-timers, it can be hard to figure out where to start. We'll walk you through the process for IE and Firefox, the browsers that, like it or not, account for 88% of those in use last month, and the also-rans, Chrome and Safari.

Bing it on!

How do I change IE so Bing is my default search engine?

It's easiest in IE8, which uses a Firefox-like model for adding new search providers and setting the default. IE7 is a little more complicated, but not by much.

With IE8, click this link to reach the Bing search add-on, then click the "Add to Internet Explorer" button. In the next dialog, check the "Make this my default search provider" if you want Bing to be No. 1 on your search parade, then click the "Add" button. That's it.

For IE7, select "Internet Options" from the Tools menu, then under the "General" tab, click the "Settings" button beside the "Search: Change search defaults" section. In the next dialog, click the link at the lower-left that reads "Find more providers..." and when the new browser window opens, click on Bing in the list at the left under "Web search." To make Bing the new default, check the "Make this my default search provider" in the next dialog. Click "Add Provider." Done.

How do I change Firefox so it uses Bing?

Easy peasee. Head to the Microsoft-sanctioned Bing add-on -- as apposed to a pair of just-as-good unofficial versions -- and click the "Add to Firefox" button. You'll need to agree to the privacy policy that shows on the screen. To make Bing Firefox's default search engine, check the "Start using it right away" box before you click the "Add" button.

What about Chrome? How do I use Bing on Google's browser? Will it even let me?

You have to do some manual labor with Chrome to add Bing, which isn't surprising given that Bing search engine rival Google is behind Chrome.

Right-click the search bar at the top of Chrome and choose "Edit search engines," then click the "Add" button.

Enter "Bing" in the first two fields, and this string -- http://www.bing.com/search?q=%s -- in the third, marked "URL." Click OK. Then highlight the new Bing search entry and click the "Make Default" button. Click "Close."

Because Microsoft is redirecting all traffic from its now-kaput Live Search to Bing, you can skip the typing and simply choose "Live Search" from the list under "Default search options" in the dialog box that pops up when you right-click the address bar. Anything typed as a search in the bar is shunted to Bing, not Live Search.

I use Safari on the Mac. What do I do if I want to search Bing?

Safari locks its users into Google -- although the Windows version of Apple's browser lets you pick between that and Yahoo -- so you'll need to download a tool to add search flexibility to Safari.

Glims, for instance, is both free and lightweight. Download and install it, launch Safari (or relaunch it), then open Preferences under the Safari menu. Click on the "Glims" icon.

The shortcut to Bing is similar to the option Chrome users have: Click on "Search Engines" in the list on the left, then scroll down until you find "Live Search." Check its box. Close Preferences. To make Live Search (Bing) the default, click on the icon in the search box to bring up the drop-down list, then choose Live Search.

Or you can do the typing, as in Chrome.

With Glims' Preferences open, click on "Search Engines" in the list on the left, then click the "Add" button at the bottom. In the box that pops up, type "Bing" for the name, leave "Type" as "Search Engine" and then enter this string -- http://www.bing.com/search?q=#query# -- before clicking the "Set" button. (You can optionally add a shortcut and/or keyword.)

To make the new Bing custom search the default, click on the icon in the search box to bring up the drop-down list, then choose Live Search.

Kudos to ReadWriteWeb for tips on the Bing search strings for Chrome and Safari.

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Gregg Keizer

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