Matthew Panzarino from Techcrunch is reporting that Apple is consolidating search results to come from Google. Apple has previously used Google as default search for Safari on iOS and Mac, but used Bing for Siri results. Starting today, Siri search results, along with those from the iOS search bar, will come from Google. Panzarino points out that Google is paying $3 billion to Apple to be a default search solution, but it is not clear if Siri was part of that deal. A statement sent to Techcrunch suggested the change was motivated by a desire to “have a consistent web search experience.”
This also means that search results for the forthcoming Apple HomePod smart speaker will also be delivered by Google. Apple is well behind its competitors in the smart speaker market, but the volume for Siri on iPhone is a big prize. Search will deliver responses to voice queries with either text or audible response and is an important battleground in voice assistant user experience today.
The Battle for Voice Search Primacy
While Bing is well behind Google in both desktop and mobile search volume, the service was carving out a niche in voice search. All of the leading voice assistant players were using Bing except Google Assistant until today. The switch by Siri to Google is a big loss for Microsoft. The 375 million monthly active Siri users were no doubt important to its already small mobile search market share. This matters because voice SEO practices will invariably be influenced by which search engines are used.
We can count on Bing to maintain its position in Microsoft’s Cortana and is likely to remain as default for Amazon Alexa. This should still give Bing a substantial voice assistant search volume for the time being. However, Google is not going to cede its search dominance without a fight as we transition to voice platforms. Amazon and Microsoft are the two leading voice assistant developers without a mobile platform and are cooperating. On the other side, the two leading mobile OS platforms are cooperating. Technology platform shifts create strange bedfellows. Then again, $3 billion can change a competitive position into cooperation very quickly.