First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
I did not believe you that MS had integrated Bing into the desktop search, in which I've been partially wrong...
Yes, MS has integrated Bing into the "Search Charm", which I didn't use, but not to other searches AFAICS. The search charm is also customizable and this forum has a pretty good tutorial on the subject.
The Bing search suggestions can be disabled at "PC Settings\Search & apps" settings, which stops the suggested web search results to be displayed and limits the search results to local machine's results. One would say that, if you disabled Bing suggestions, then there's no reason to send the search terms to Bing, however, that's not the case.
Once the search charm opened, Windows establishes an encrypted channel (TLS 1.2) to the designated server. Regardless of the "Search & apps" setting, Windows will send the search term(s) to Bing. It is also possible (not confirmed) that the local search results are also sent to Bing; however, the actual files are not sent to Bing and that had been confirmed.
The actual Windows Explorer search does not trigger connection to Bing, it is limited only for local searches.
The only way I could block the "Search Charm" connection to Bing, other than not using it, is to block access to the destination server on my broadband router. This result in the error message below, when the search area chosen is "Everywhere":
The current integration seemingly compatible to the "standard web browser tracking", with the exception that it cannot be easily blocked, due to the integration with the OS. The majority of the people will probably like this integration and certainly, it has benefits.
On the other hand I don't like tracking in any forms and will keep blocking the integration with my router. Other than the Bing integration, I do like 8.1 and one can really run it as a Windows 7 system; this is the desktop my system loads:
Yeah, I miss the program menu and needed to setup the shortcuts, but other than that, it works like Windows 7. Just don't use the charms...
PS: The "Search Charm" tests were verified by using Wireshark....