Microsoft is currently under renewed political pressure to make changes to its Bing search engine. In the variant available in China, users should, at least temporarily, not receive autocomplete when entering searches. Since the weekend, users in China have had to do without the feature.
The change is likely temporary. As the news agency, Reuters reported that Microsoft had confirmed the intervention of a “relevant authority” from China, who had asked for the feature to be disabled for seven days. However, no information was given on the reasons. It’s not the first time autofill has come under fire. From the point of view of the Chinese censors, the problem here is that users are sometimes alerted to unwanted connections. It can therefore be assumed that Microsoft will also make manual changes to the suggestions within the specified period so that only harmless combinations of search terms are displayed here.
Submission to user counts
Bing is currently the only Western provider’s search engine still available in China. The reason lies in the extensive state censorship, which makes it difficult for foreign companies to offer corresponding services. Because basically, you have to use your own indices, which are significantly different from the free versions. Microsoft takes on the accompanying problems — after all, China is a massive market, and the Redmond-based group struggles to engage users with its search offerings.
In most western markets, Bing cannot take a significant market share from Google. The activities in China are then usually justified by the fact that the users there want to be able to look beyond the national horizon at least to a certain extent. The viability of this argument is, of course, questionable if one is to submit completely to the Chinese regime in any case.
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