Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Siri and Search on iOS, and Spotlight and Siri on MacOS (But Not Siri Image Search) Switch to Google From Bing

Matthew Panzarino, 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.

[…]

The search results include regular ‘web links’ as well as video results. Web image results from Siri 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.

I have a lot of questions about this announcement. Most of all, I wonder about Apple’s justification — their statement said, in part, that 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”. But if consistency is what they’re aiming for, why does Siri on the Mac use Google for all searches except image searches, which still use Bing? In fact, if consistency is truly what is desired here, why don’t Siri and Spotlight match the search engine the user has selected for Safari?

The most obvious reason why this isn’t the case — and why this change was made today — is that Google’s expanded presence across Apple’s platforms is a condition of their agreement with Apple.

Also, one thing from Microsoft’s statement to TechCrunch:

Bing has grown every year since its launch, now powering over a third of all the PC search volume in the U.S., and continues to grow worldwide.

That’s unbelievable. I mean that literally — I cannot believe that a third of U.S. searches are made through Bing. There’s no citation for this, but Statista’s consolidated data from April indicates that Bing’s market share was around 23% in the U.S. at the time. I can’t imagine that Google has ceded 10% of the market to Microsoft in the past four months and nobody I know willingly uses Bing, so I wonder how this is being measured by both Statista and Microsoft.