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Apple Switches From Bing to Google for Siri Web Search Results on iOS and Spotlight on Mac

Matthew Panzarino, reporting for TechCrunch:

Apple is switching the default provider of its web searches from Siri, Search inside iOS (formerly called Spotlight) and Spotlight on the Mac. So, for instance, if Siri falls back to a web search on iOS when you ask it a question, you’re now going to get Google results instead of Bing.

Consistency is Apple’s main motivation given for switching the results from Microsoft’s Bing to Google in these cases. Safari on Mac and iOS already currently use Google search as the default provider, thanks to a deal worth billions to Apple (and Google) over the last decade. This change will now mirror those results when Siri, the iOS Search bar or Spotlight is used.

The search results include regular ‘web links’ as well as video results. Web image results from Siri, swiping down and searching within iOS and Spotlight will still come from Bing, for now. Bing has had more than solid image results for some time now so that makes some sense. If you use Siri to search your own photos, it will, of course, use your own library instead. Interestingly, video results will come directly from YouTube.

Apple is claiming they’re making this change for the sake of consistency. It has seemed a little odd that Safari’s default search engine (for queries typed in the location field) has always been Google, but Siri’s web searches have always been Bing. But I wonder how much of this was dictated by user experience and how much was determined by the business deal, which analyst A.M. Sacconaghi Jr. estimates has Google paying Apple $3 billion this year alone.

Also seems strange that Bing holds onto image search, and that video search will go to YouTube specifically, not Google video search. If I’m reading this right, when you ask Siri to search for video you won’t see any results that aren’t from YouTube.

Monday, 25 September 2017