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Apple Reportedly Moving Away from Google as Default Search Engine

In recent years, Google seems to have overtaken devices of all types, serving as the default search engine on the most popular web browsers. This position can partly be blamed for Google’s continuing domination of search engine market share, with top competitor Bing unable to gain traction.

That may be about to change. First, Firefox decided to swap Google for Yahoo! as its default search engine and now a rumor has Apple dropping Google as the default search engine in Safari, the browser used in all of its devices. Users can easily change the default search engine in any browser, but few users put in that effort.

The Apple-Google Battle

Apple vs Google


At the heart of things is a rivalry between Google and Apple, which seems to explain the absence of Google Maps and YouTube on brand new installs of iPhones. The company chose to instead develop its own navigation program, Apple Maps, and work hard to win Google Maps users over.

Both Microsoft and Yahoo! have reportedly approached Apple about making the switch to their own search engines once the contract with Google expires. By taking a spot as the default search engine on iOS devices, either search engine could gain a big market boost, potentially allowing it to take part of Google’s majority share.

An Apple Search Engine

Of course, if past behavior is an indicator, Apple could be devising a search engine of its own. Hopefully its launch will go a little more smoothly than the 2012 launch of Apple Maps, which resulted in the help desk being flooded with complaints. By launching its own search engine, Apple could go after Google’s search engine market share, but would inclusion in iOS devices be enough to make a difference?

Welcoming external search engines brings in money! Google reportedly paid Apple $82 million in 2009 to remain its default, but that amount reportedly increased to $1 billion in 2014. If Apple can get that same figure from Microsoft or Yahoo!, it may be worth continuing the partnership with another company.

Google Already Disappearing

Bing is already part of iOS searches when a user launches it using Siri. In 2013, Apple chose to replace its default search results with Bing results for Siri searches. If a user wants the search to be conducted using Google, he must specify, “Search Google” with his request.

Currently, Safari users can easily switch from Google to another search engine, including Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Many users leave Google as the default, however, not realizing it can be changed. Once the deal with Google ends, iOS devices will no longer ship with Google as the default out of the box.

The Yahoo! Negotiation

While Bing looks to be the likely choice, since the search engine has already been chosen as the Spotlight search provider in newer versions of the OS. However, Marissa Mayer has reportedly stated that she hopes the company will choose Yahoo! as the default provider.

Since Mayer already successfully negotiated a similar deal with Firefox, the possibility of a win for Yahoo! isn’t out of the question yet. As Yahoo! continues to struggle to compete with other technology giants, a win like this could make a big difference, helping Mayer prove Yahoo! is still a serious contender.

Whether Apple goes with Bing, Yahoo!, or its own search engine, users will simply need to take a few extra steps to change the default search engine in Safari. Similar extra steps can be completed in Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox, allowing users to have exactly the default browser they want, regardless of what the technology companies decide.

Why Default Search Engine Matters!

For the longest time default search engine were a tool to gain users. As changes start to impact long time incumbents’ use, new patters begin to emerge. For example, when sharing an address, I share Google map links to avoid Apple maps from loading by default. If the door can be opened for Yahoo! and Apple to gain market share it could disrupt the search marketing landscape. Although no one feature or search engine will overtake Google’s market dominance, the impact of all these small changes could play a role.


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Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene is the CEO of Searchmetrics Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Searchmetrics. Previously, Jordan was the Head of SEO and Content Development at eBay. During his time at eBay, Jordan focused on utilizing eBay content to improve user experience and natural search traffic.

2 thoughts on “Apple Reportedly Moving Away from Google as Default Search Engine

  • I recently discovered a report which showed Google was losing market share because of the actions that its competition are performing. Apple can leave Google in a very negative situation if it starts implementing this change.

  • Google may be under a risk of losing users because of it’s tracking features. Those Google features have really ruined privacy because whether you open google, gmail, g+, blogger, etc you will be operating only one account and Google holds every information about you when you visit those sites. That’s what I don’t like about Google.

    But I should say that Apple must atleast stay away from this search-engine matter….

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