How To: Change the Search Button function and the default search engine from Bing to Google on Windows Phone

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The Windows Phone Search Button used to launch a Bing search bar on Internet Explorer. Those who already have Microsoft’s digital assistant enabled on their phones are aware that pressing the Search button now launches Cortana. Sure, you can search the web via Cortana, but not everyone prefers it this way.

How to revert Search Button function from Cortana to Bing

Sadly, the only way to restore the initial functionality of the Search Button is to disable Cortana (a tough choice if you’re a heavy user of the app but still want the Search Button to open up a Bing Search window).

Cortana Settings

You can do so by going to your phone’s Settings -> applications tab -> Cortana  (or access the settings from the app’s menu – the top-right hamburger icon) and toggle the switch to Off (a restart will be required). It seems very limiting, but for now that’s all the OS allows us to do.

How to change the default search engine from Bing to Google in Internet Explorer

Even if you enjoy your Windows Phone experience you might prefer Google’s search engine over Microsoft’s. Changing it is extremely easy. Go to Settings -> applications tab -> Internet Explorer. Here, tap on Advanced Settings and press the ‘Default search provider’ option. Select Google from the options and that’s it!

Internet Explorer Settings

Most Windows Phones have Bing and Google as options in the ‘Default search provider’ menu. However, for newer Lumias like 630 and 930 the Google option may have been removed (unrelated to the WP 8.1 update or any other OS update).

It seems not even all Lumia 630 and 930 (and possibly other models) phones lack the option to set Google as the default search provider for Internet Explorer. Apparently some European versions of these phones do have the option but it may also depend on your carrier. Nevertheless, if the option is lacking, it’s not your fault and you didn’t do anything wrong, but there’s nothing you can do to get it.

Note: If you don’t have Cortana (or you disabled it) and have set the Internet Explorer search provider as Google, the Search Button will still launch a Bing Search window. It’s independent of IE’s settings and you cannot change the search engine for this function.

Sadly, Windows Phone is lacking official browser apps from the most popular titles and Microsoft is choosing to impose Bing as the default search engine, limiting us even more. Hopefully, Microsoft will come up with a way to encourage developers into paying attention to their mobile platform and give us those essential apps we’re still lacking.

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