Apple may be at odds with Google when it comes to iOS versus Android, but it appears that the two can still find common ground on search. Google has been a long-time fixture in iOS and macOS as the default engine for Safari searches. However, Microsoft Bing has been the default provider for Siri queries, iOS Search and Spotlight on macOS.
In a bid to provide a more consistent experience across all of its platforms and areas of search, Apple is kicking Bing to the curb, and has retained Google's services for nearly all areas of search (by default), with the sole exception being image searches via Siri.
“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,” said Apple in a statement that was provided to the press this morning. “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”
Where this change will be most noticeable is for iOS users who ask Siri a question, only for her to respond that she can't help you. When this happens (which is often, we might add), Siri will fall back on a web search to allow you to find what's you're looking for. In this instance, and when you directly ask Siri to perform a web search, Google search will be used.
Microsoft’s selection as the search provider for Siri was seen as a major coup for the company back in 2015 when the partnership with Apple was first announced. Now, however, Microsoft is trying to make the best of the situation even though it must be disappointing. The company released the following statement in response to today's news:
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... 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.
It's a bitter pill for Microsoft to swallow, but it at least appears that the company is more concerned about plotting a path forward with Bing's AI prowess in other, more lucrative ventures.