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When Google was invented it revolutionised searching the Internet. Suddenly it was easy to find websites as Googles logic was radically different to anything before it. Ever since there has been a clear divide between searching the Internet and searching your private files. That is until until Microsoft made your personal & company OneDrive files appear in Bing search results.
In 2020 Microsoft introduced a new feature to their Bing Search Engine that now displays personal and company files in the search results.
FILES APPEARING IN BING RESULTS
It can be a heart stopping moment to see your personal and company files available on the internet for all to see. It’s something you never expect of your precious files stored on OneDrive or Sharepoint.
For the eagle eyed users, there is also another change on the Bing search page. With this update has come the ‘work’ tab which also has a padlock icon.
ALL IS NOT AS IT SEEMS
That padlock on the ‘work’ tab is there to reassure you that these results are private. But if they really are private how are your files appearing on the internet?
Well, in fact the files are not published on the internet at all. What’s happening here is a blending of searches. If you are logged in to your Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive or Sharepoint account then Bing is searching both the internet and your Microsoft account for results that match your search. You must be logged in for these results to appear.
This blending of results is only possible if you are logged in to your Microsoft account in the browser. More importantly it means that these file search results are NOT visible to anyone else on the internet. Even if they are signed in to their Microsoft account they won’t see your results.
SO WHAT’S THE FIX?
Essentially there’s nothing to fix as this is just a convenience feature of Bing. But if you’d like to see for yourself that search results don’t appear for other people just pop into incognito mode by pressing CTRL + N while in your browser. Incognito mode ensure that the browser is not signed in to any of your accounts.
You’ll know you’re in incognito mode as the browser has a black header now instead of the light gray. If you perform the exact same search you’ll notice that your files no longer appear in the same search results. This is what others will see if they search for the same thing too.
Notice how the ‘work’ tab is no longer visible? That’s because you are not signed in when in incognito mode and so Bing can’t show you your own files. This is what others on the internet can see.
Back in the normal browser if you want to stop seeing these results simply log out of your Microsoft account on the browser.
WHY MAKE ONEDRIVE FILES APPEAR IN BING SEARCH RESULTS?
Microsoft's research team considered this update a new ‘feature’ that many users would benefit from. They hope that this feature will make your day easier and your files more accessible to you.
Do we agree? We think Microsoft could do a much better job of showing people that these results are private. It’s very scary for anyone at first glance to see their private OneDrive files appear in Bing search results. But rest assured that we have thoroughly checked this new feature. We are happy to confirm that your OneDrive Cloud files are as secure as ever.
If you have any concerns or would like a second opinion on your file security please contact us.