Personal Tech

Bing fling sting: Apple dumps Microsoft search engine for Google

Safari, Spotlight to be powered by the Chocolate Factory

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

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Apple will drop Microsoft's Bing as the default web search provider for its iOS and macOS gear.

The Cupertino Newton-slinger said on Monday it will use Google Search as the default for queries in Siri, the iOS search bar, and Spotlight on macOS. Google is already the default search engine for the Safari web browser on Macs, iPhones, iPads and whatever's left of the iPod line.

The changeover is said to be rolling out to all users over the course of the day. Apple said the aim behind the move is to give users a uniform search engine between its iOS and Mac platforms.

"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," Apple told El Reg. Yes, really.

"We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible."

Microsoft, meanwhile, it putting on a brave face.

"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," Redmond said in a statement to The Register.

"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."

The move could signal a warming of relations between Apple and Google a little more than three years after the former announced at the 2014 WWDC it would be dumping the latter's search services in favor of Microsoft's Bing.

At the time, Apple was still cooling off from its bitter "thermonuclear" feud with Google and its Android chums over allegations the biz copied elements of iOS. This included lawsuits and the end of a long-running collaboration (both legal and otherwise) between the two tech titans.

According to August stats from Netmarketshare, Google controls more than 80 per cent of the worldwide desktop search query market. Bing is a distant second with 7.04 per cent. It's even worse on mobile: Google has 97 per cent in that arena. ®

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