Back to Courier Columns Page

by Ray Carlson

Q. Cortana, the personal assistant in Windows 10, only uses Bing for web searches. Can that be changed?

A. Microsoft is hoping Cortana will draw people to Windows 10. One important role is as a search engine that can locate relevant information for specific questions like the most popular Asian restaurant in the area or who will win the primaries. Last week, we told how to change Edge, the browser in Windows 10, to use Google instead of Bing. With Cortana, it is necessary to take another step.

Major browsers such as Chrome use small programs called extensions to help them carry out tasks that are not normally part of searching the Internet. Extensions have been developed for Chrome to insure that all searches carried out will use Google. First make sure that Chrome is the default browser. If you are using Windows 10, click on the Start button, then Settings, then System, and finally Default Apps. Scroll down to Web Browser. If Chrome is not listed, click on what is, and a set of choices should appear. Select Google Chrome, and close the Settings box.

Next add "Chrometana," a Chrome extension that can be downloaded from this address. Or go to the Google web store and search for "Chrometana." Once added, Chrometana allows you to choose between using Google, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo or Bing for all searches.

Reviewers have suggested that Cortana is useful for varied tasks other than searches. For someone like me who forgets appointments or even when it is time to eat, using Cortana to set reminders is essential. Once Cortana is open, click the fourth icon on the left and specify what is to be remembered and the time. At that time, a reminder will appear. There is one quirk - the reminder is sent to the computer you most commonly use, not necessarily the one you were using when you set the reminder.

Published: Courier 9/26/15 - Page 12A