iOS and macOS Spotlight web search preferences move from Bing to Google
Apple doesn’t have a search engine to call its own and, instead, has relied on a mix of Google and Microsoft’s Bing for serving its users by proxy. But Bing got pushed almost completely out of the picture today as Apple has made Google the default web search engine for Siri and Spotlight searches for macOS and iOS — Spotlight Search for iOS has been renamed Search Inside iOS in iOS 11.
Prior to today, Safari on macOS and iOS have Google set as the default results provider. Video results will be sourced from Google-owned YouTube. Oddly, Siri will still pull image searches from Bing.
Apple sent a statement to TechCrunch saying that even with this move, it maintains healthy relationships with both parties:
Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari. We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.
Web searches made through Apple’s means are encrypted, but clicking into a results listing on a web browser will subject users to tracking. Accessing a result directly will not be tracked by the engine.
Microsoft is defending Bing’s position as a growing service:
We value our relationship with Apple and look forward to continuing to partner with them in many ways, including on Bing Image Search in Siri, to provide the best experience possible for our customers. Bing has grown every year since its launch, now powering over a third of all the PC search volume in the U.S., and continues to grow worldwide. It also powers the search experiences of many other partners, including Yahoo (Verizon), AOL and Amazon, as well as the multi-lingual abilities of Twitter. As we move forward, given our work to advance the field of AI, we’re confident that Bing will be at the forefront of providing a more intelligent search experience for our customers and partners.
We do know that Google has been paying at least $1 billion every year since 2014 to Apple for the privilege of being the default search engine on the iOS, macOS and app-based platforms.