There have been concerns about the data Microsoft Edge sends back to its creators, but recently announced features suggest the company isn’t completely deaf to the user privacy battle. The browser now has a built-in InPrivate search for Bing in its Beta version.
It works about how you’d expect. When you open an incognito tab, whether it’s for engagement rings or less scrupulous tasks, your browser switches too. After that point, your searches won’t be tied to you or your user account.
Microsoft is selling the fact none of its competitors have a similar feature, and it’s all part of its new Office 365 branding. The new consumer Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions are better geared towards home life. One of those improvements is knowing you can search for something on a family account without everyone else being able to see it. It also removes identifiers on the tech giant’s end, which is a big plus for privacy enthusiasts.
“When a search query is submitted using InPrivate search, data that can be used to identify your account or device is removed. Bing will still provide local results based on your IP location, which can’t be traced back to your account or device,” explains an FAQ in the browser. “Links to sign in with your Microsoft Account won’t appear at the top of the page on Bing while using InPrivate search, and automatic sign-in on Bing will be turned off. Your InPrivate searches are never saved to Bing or Microsoft Edge browsing history and will never influence or appear in Bing search suggestions.“
It all sounds very promising, but I can’t help but wish this was a feature you could toggle regardless of the browsing mode. You can edit your search settings, but there’s only the option to remove search suggestions and it’s not clear if that has the same result.