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.



  • Zeatrix

    I’d much rather pick my search provider myself.

    • Prof. Peabody

      And of course you will still be able to, despite the nefarious implication in your post.

  • John V.

    Comparing this to a chess match is giving it too much credit.

    It’s more like slap fight: http://scotspolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/slap.jpg

    • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer Matthew

      If you look at the decision from the perspective of Apple’s focus on security and privacy, the switch to Bing falls outside the thermonuclear war Jobs initiated on Google.

      The actual reason behind the switch is likely known by a handful of Apple employees.

  • Rob Valcich

    Let’s not forget maps. Google-free by 2015!

  • Scotty

    I found this very confusing (from the second article quoted): “Google removed the the url from the top bar.” The THE url”?

    • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

      congratulations, you found the first typo on the internet. you win!

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    Tizen is as much a shot at Google as Samsung building Windows Phone phones. It won’t matter if they don’t sell well. Replacing Android on the Galaxy line will be a nightmare for users so I doubt that will happen.

    The search engine is a definite shot but yet to be seen as a successful one. It will only be successful if people don’t simply change it back to Google.

    • Vera Comment

      it’s not a matter of replacing anything out there (hell, they don’t even patch on a reasonable basis, what makes you think Sammy will offer al alternate OS on older hardware.) Sammy has distanced themselves from Google

      the average user doesn’t give a shit what the OS is.. can it do facebook is the chief question.. (much like most people won’t know spotlight is using Bing)

      http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/06/02/android-is-clearly-dead-now-samsung-announces-its-first-tizen-smartphone/

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        iOS is a success almost solely based on the app ecosystem. It hasn’t been the best OS in years yet it has a massive following for high priced devices.

        Tizen is going to face that same battle. Sure they could do FB w/ any devices browser but apps is what users care about right now. It is what is killing Windows Phone too.

        It doesn’t matter how many phones they launch as long as it is not a targeted platform by developers. See Blackberry 10.

        • Gandhi

          iOS not being the best OS for years is your opinion. Don’t state it as fact.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            I read it again and don’t see where I stated anything as a fact but I’m pretty sure we can run down the WWDC updates and point to the majority as being “catch-up” to Android. That’s my point of reference and source for my opinion.

          • Prof. Peabody

            Well you said something that probably 95% of the population would see as false (iOS sucks, or some variation of that), and you didn’t qualify it as opinion. This is kind of the definition of trolling really.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Nope, not even close to the definition of trolling.

            95%? Is that an opinion or trolling? [see how your rules work?]

            If you have to qualify every statement here as opinion or fact, the quality of discussion is gone. Unless proof is provided or the info is widely known as true, consider it an opinion. [basic discussion rules]

          • The White Tiger

            It’s kind of up to the reader to infer when something is opinion, because it’s generally considered obvious when something is or is not a fact. There’s a reason your english teacher always told you to never preface something with “in my opinion…” They (and I) would go mad with all the qualifiers being thrown around in day-to-day conversations.

            Mr. Bland here has commented on Loop posts for quite some time. You’re mistaking general critiques of his as some sort of attempt at ruffling feathers.

          • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

            it is, always, his attempt at being annoying. stick around long enough and youll realize that….especially when you proof him wrong on things and he wont admit (like links proving Google even started new lawsuits after acquiring Motorola, which he refused to acknowledge. etc…)

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Again…love you too kyron. I was in no way being annoying, just stating my view.

            Awww…you’re still butt hurt over the Google/Motorola lawsuit discussion. So we disagreed? Need a hug?

          • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

            lord like anyone needs to spoon feed you, troll that you are, but you stated your opinion as fact right here — “It hasn’t been the best OS in years”.

            thats your opinion. my opinion is that iOS is indeed the best mobile OS, and has been for years.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            I love you too kyron. I’ll spoon feed you with “my opinion” and tag you every time I comment on this thread so you’re 100% clear.

          • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

            Sure sign of a troll is when they won’t admit that their opinions aren’t facts. Not that it isn’t a fact. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. A full Android solution with Google services and the latest update is certainly a worthy competitor. Thinking that there’s an objective way that it’s “better,” is not a fact. I like Apple, even when they are times when they are “behind,” because they are telling a long story. Because soon all your stuff will work together like butter. Of course, that’s my opinion, not a fact.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Et tu Brute?

            Cool on waiting for the long story but tech, at least for me, moves too fast to wait 8 versions of an OS to get things like sharing at a usable level beyond chosen options for me or notification widget access or actionable notifications.

            As for not the whole opinion stuff, thx for the definition of a troll being someone who doesn’t admit their statements are opinion. Here’s my comment of clarity for the Opinion Police, pulled from above: “I read it again and don’t see where I stated anything as a fact but I’m pretty sure we can run down the WWDC updates and point to the majority as being “catch-up” to Android. That’s my point of reference and source for my opinion.”

            Good thing you finished with “that’s my opinion” because I thought I was reading fact.

            [yes, I'm being overly-sarcastic and snarky; y'all kill me with all of these petty attacks and attempts to break someone down, it's useless]

    • Mother Hydra

      I don’t think it is a stretch to envision an Android compatibility layer that allows Tizen access to the best(?) of both worlds. This Trojan horse approach would, if done correctly, totally upend Google. Question is, does Samsung have the wherewithal to pull it off?

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        True but you’d NEVER get Google Apps/Services on Tizen. They won’t even provide them for Windows Phone. iOS gets them ’cause it rocks in popularity and only makes sense.

        Tizen may find a way to run Android apps but, just like Blackberry who does this, it won’t mean the death of Android.

    • Zepfhyr

      Actually, I don’t think they’ll be able to change it back to Google, as the wording of the article above indicates that Safari will still default to Google. Only Spotlight will search via Bing (like Siri already does). No idea if you can change where Spotlight gets its info from, but you can’t change Siri, so it seems unlikely. My guess is that both Spotlight and Siri will pull from the same sources (Bing, Yelp, Yahoo Sports, etc).

    • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

      I don’t know where you would set Siri results back to Google. You can’t.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        I don’t think I ever referred to Siri or changing the search engine it uses. The excerpt above was talking about Spotlight and Safari.

  • Prof. Peabody

    I hope this works better than maps, but I’m all for it in principle. Many people pointedly avoid all Google products for moral reasons, so being able to ditch the search is kind of like the last piece in the puzzle.

    • matthewmaurice

      “I hope this works better than maps,” I’m betting that the memory of Scott Forstall will ensure that. As for “[n]othing has been fixed, nothing has been changed since the day it debuted. It’s like this in many many places around the world.” Really? That’s just not true, http://www.loopinsight.com/2013/03/12/apples-maps-being-updated-often-and-significantly/ Apple Maps launch was bad, but let’s not kid ourselves it wasn’t Apple’s worst fail, even after Jobs’ return, and it’s recovery is a reason to be optimistic about the future. As for “I think this is the canary in the coal mine.” well that would be pretty bad news for Google, not Apple, http://www.macnn.com/articles/13/11/11/google.loses.nearly.80.percent.of.ios.users.falls.on.android.as.well/ (money quote: “ComScore reported that 35.1 million users accessed Apple Maps last month out of an estimated iOS US audience of 60.1 million, or 58 percent of users – while Google Maps was accessed by just over 10 percent.”) The one, and only, way in which you are uneqivocally correct about Apple Maps being “completely unusable” is in regards to public transit, but at least Apple will automatically redirect you to Google maps when you indicate you need transit info.

    • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer Matthew

      “Maps is still completely unusable in my (major North American), city”

      I’d be curious to know what city you’re referring to. I’ve travelled a bit using Apple Maps and have experienced only minor issues.

    • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

      maps works fine in my major north american city. occasionally theres a POI that doesnt line up correctly, but ive seen bad data in every nav program i have.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        Yeah, even Google Maps has some off POI and addresses.

        • http://tewha.net/ Steven Fisher

          There’s really no “even” about it. Google has some atrocious data in my area. it didn’t even get my city right in the last place I lived.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            I haven’t heard of “atrocious data” in years but I don’t doubt they are off in some areas. I’m in Houston so I have 0 problems. :)

            Head south to some of these small towns in Texas and they’re still pretty solid but I do see things off at times.

          • http://tewha.net/ Steven Fisher

            Yeah, it used to pin my street address on the wrong street. My street was mislabelled. And if I started with the real location, it would report the wrong city. (And no, I wasn’t close to the border between them!)

            (It still does, I just moved.)

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Ouch.

  • The White Tiger

    I don’t think I have ever heard someone say someone’s “unleashing” DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo is a nifty little search site, but I hardly see how this is any more of a threat than Siri defaulting internet searches through Bing instead of Google. It sounds damaging, but does anyone have any numbers for how many queries Google has lost through that change?

    At the very least, I like DuckDuckGo a lot more than Bing. I hope we’ll get it as a default in Siri at some point, if Google has to go.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      Mmm…that would be very interesting data indeed.

      On a side note, how does DDG pay for their service? I would assume a lot of anti-Googlers will go this route. If a ton of them do, can DDG sustain? Did Apple invest?

      • matthewmaurice

        A search engine isn’t that expensive to maintain. When that’s all Google was, it was in a garage. It’s all the other services you need if your real goal is to accumulate user data to sell targeted ads that is expensive. DDG doesn’t have that problem

        • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

          Ehhh…Google’s traffic back then is prob considerably less than DDG right now. There simply wasn’t a lot of traffic when Google was in a garage.

          • matthewmaurice

            It’s not the traffic that’s expensive, on an enterprise scale, it’s the data, and the infrastructure requried to store/support it.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Both. Traffic [meaning the request and retrieval of said data] and the data. HDDs are cheap and easy to scale horizontally.

      • http://blog.nicholasmodesto.com/ DigitizedSociety

        DDG has a paid search result placements, sponsored link. It is not that DDG is advertising free. The big thing is that they dont collect your search data, build it into a profile, that is then sell advertisers access to that profile.

        It looks like DDG might also add affiliate codes into search results.

        https://duckduckgo.com/privacy#s4

        • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

          LOL. So they’re sniping affiliates by putting their own affiliate code? That’s clever. :) This sucks if they remove one code for another [say from my site to Amazon, etc] but still…clever.

          Very interesting setup. I didn’t read all that earlier when I looked at that page. Thx for the clarity.

          Bravo to them for propping themselves up in a MAJOR way. This is huge for them. Congrats to the DDG team.

          • Dennis Madrid

            I read the policy and it didn’t say it was replacing existing affiliate codes, but rather it was inserting them when people search and click on things to amazon, etc.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Could be the case, sure.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    The thermonuclear part is over. Now it’s house-to-house. If you handle it right, it’s nothing but good for the consumer. Competition!

  • Curmudgeon

    What I would give if Mac Help (Help Center) were built in to Spotlight, and not be the unresponsive molasses ball it is now.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      First, love the name. :)

      Second, I never use it. Putting it in Spotlight would be really awesome!