Apple unleashes a second major threat to Google

Earlier this week, Samsung announced their first Tizen smartphone, sending a shot across Google’s bow, from the Android side. Apple then followed up with their announcement that Bing would be the default search engine in Spotlight searches. Also, note this text from Apple’s Yosemite preview page:

You can also now search the web using DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track you.

Samsung’s Tizen threat is an obvious one, a move to derail Android’s dominance as the number one competitor to iOS in the mobile space.

The change in Apple’s search defaults is much more subtle, but no less important.

From Forbes:

In the new versions of their operating systems, Google results will be removed from Spotlight and replaced with Microsoft’s Bing. Of course Apple is going to offer searches through iTunes, the App Store, Apple Maps, iBooks, and more, but the prize of web searches in Spotlight now goes to Redmond.

Keen followers of Apple will note that Bing was already powering results for Siri.

It’s not a total wipe-out, users searching in Safari will see results from Google, but Apple is slowly winding back their reliance on Google. Wherever web searching remains visible to the user, Google will likely remain in the short to medium term, But in areas where users are searching and just want results rather than Google results, Apple is using alternative providers. Bing is one. DuckDuckGo for private search is another.

From Kyre Lahtinen:

Recently Google received a lot of heat for changes it made to developer builds of the Chrome web browser. Google removed the the url from the top bar. Many suggested that Google was testing this tweak because this is how people use the internet anyway. They open their browser and type a search into Google; Google is most people’s gateway to the web. Google was in effect seeing if they could add one more layer of abstraction on top of the internet so that Google would likely be the only way to the rest of the web.

I can not help but think that Apple is doing a similar thing, but Google is the target. Apple is uniquely positioned to harass Google’s near search monopoly. Because Apple is in complete control of their platform they are able to integrate different services into their search. iOS already benefits from a variety of data sources; iOS gets sports data from Yahoo!, mathematical computations from WolframAlpha.

It appears that much of the search results from Spotlight will not come from Google. [Correct – as pointed out above] I imagine this trend will continue. Apple already encourages users to bypass Google by using Siri to perform searches. Look for Apple to slowly and methodically exclude Google where it can on Apple devices. Users will not care who provides the data just as long as it is fast and accurate, and Apple’s silent war against Google will continue.

The chess match continues. Fascinating to watch this unfold.