The default search engine in Microsoft Edge

Finger pressing on search engine

You can’t change Edge’s “new tab” search engine away from Microsoft’s Bing

Woman sitting at laptopWell, that’s not completely true. You can change the default search engine that is invoked when you type your search term into the address bar, but you can’t change the default search engine that is invoked when you use the search box in the middle of the screen.

This all seems a bit strange to me. Maybe there was a big meeting at Microsoft in which one person said “We have to give them a choice of default search engine in Edge” and someone else said “Why? They are using a Microsoft operating system, why not make them use a Microsoft search engine?”. And then the peacemaker of the group said “I know. Give them a choice of search engine in the address bar, but make them use Bing in the search box”.

I know it sounds barmy, but can you think of a better explanation?

Anyway, here’s how you choose the address bar search engine:

  • Click on the three dots at the top right of the Edge window
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Down the left sidebar, click on “Privacy, search, and services”
  • Scroll down to the “Services” section
  • Click on “Address bar and search”
  • Click the dropdown next to “Search engine used in the address bar”
  • Choose a different search engine

Be aware, though, that the choice of “Google” will set your search engine to the US site – https://www.google.com. You may prefer the UK site – https://www.google.co.uk. In which case, add the UK site (as described below) and choose that as your default search engine.

Adding a new one

Adding a new search engine to the list of options seems to me to be far more complicated than necessary (they wouldn’t be trying to put us off, would they?) I couldn’t get their method of “opening a new tab, going to the new search … “ to work, but I finally worked out what they wanted in the “Add search engine” screen instead.

So, on the same screen where you chose “Search engine used in the address bar”:

  • Click on “Manage search engines”
  • Click on “Add”
  • Against “search engine”, type your own identifier for your new search engine (eg “Google Canada”)
  • Against “shortcut”, type its address and add the final backslash (eg https://www.google.ca/)
  • Against “URL with %s….” type the address as above, but with the addition of “search?q=%s” without the quotes
  • Click “Add”
  • Click the three dots next to the new entry and choose it as the default
Edge - add search engine
An example of adding a new search engine

If you need to find the address of your chosen search engine, you can search for it – eg search for “search engines UK”.

According to Statcounter , Google had 93.53% of the search engine market in the UK in January 2024, but other search engines are most definitely available.

See this PC mag article  for a recent review of search engines.

My own favourite (being a bit of a privacy nut) is DuckDuckGo . If you want to know where the odd name came from, see Wikipedia.

Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik
Image by onlyyouqj on Freepik