Apple has ditched Bing as its primary search companion in both of its iOS and macOS platforms. From now on, Google will be the default provider of web searches performed on Siri, Search inside iOS, and Spotlight. This only means that when users ask Siri something, they're going to get results from Google instead of Bing.
Apple Is Ditching Bing, But It Will Sort Of Remain
But Bing isn't going away entirely. Links and videos will come from Google, sure, but images will still be provided by Bing, although this doesn't seem like it'll be a permanent thing. Perhaps Apple is still trying to determine if it can let go of Bing completely.
Apple confirmed the news in a statement given to TechCrunch Monday, Sept. 25, saying it wanted Mac and iOS devices to have consistency — hence, the shift.
"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.
Before the change, all web searches performed via Spotlight on Mac, the search bar on iOS, and Siri invoked results from Bing. This might be a surprise for most people since Bing isn't that noticeable on iOS and macOS ecosystems. Google has remained as the default search engine on both of those. A report earlier this year suggested Google had paid Apple almost $3 billion for it to remain as the default search engine on Apple's platforms.
Search API, Encryption, And More
Every search result will come directly from the Search API, meaning users will get raw, ranked search results beyond the initial smattering of ads and the Knowledge Graph that appear on a regular Google search results page.
All searches will be protected with encryption and won't be attributed to a single user, but once people click "Show Google results," standard tracking activity by Google will activate. But clicking on a website link takes users directly to the site, not through Google.
Shifting to Google from Bing comes at an interesting time, just after Apple has released iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. Still, mixing search results providers isn't new. Apple Maps, for instance, uses Yelp, Garmin, TripAdvisor, and more for different types of location data.
All told, it's still hard to say whether this change comes from Google's reported $3 billion deal with Apple mentioned above, but it most certainly helped.