The iPhone maker said on Monday that the changes will affect Spotlight on Mac computers, Search within iOS and personal assistant Siri. In a statement, reported on by TechCrunch, Apple, whose Safari web browser and mobile operating system iOS already use Google search, claimed the decision was made to give users greater consistency
“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,” the statement from Apple said. “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”
Google will become the default search engine for users searching webpages and videos, while image results, for now at least, will continue to be sourced by Bing.
Apple’s decision to use Google’s search engine across more of its devices might not just be about consistency. Google is believed to pay about $3 billion dollars in exchange for being the default search engine for iPhones and iPads. That level of generosity is likely to give it a bit of sway over Apple. It also suggests that Alphabet’s subsidiary is more than happy to pay big bucks for preferential treatment, indicating that Apple could command considerably more by throwing Siri and other platforms into that package.
Search engines such as Google and Bing are understandably keen to acquire default status on Apple products. Nearly 15 percent of phones worldwide use iOS, according to market intelligence firm IDC, so whoever wins the battle to become default search engine is destined to attract significant traffic. Advertisers, the main source of income for search engines, are likely to pay big for this level of exposure. (See also: How Google's Search Engine Makes Money.)
A Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC and TechCrunch that Apple’s decision to use Google’s search engine across more of its platforms doesn’t necessarily signify the end of their relationship.
"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," the Microsoft spokesperson said. "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." (See also: Search Engines That Compete With Google.)