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Siri will now search the web with Apple’s smartphone competitor instead of its computer rival

AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Google is moving in on Microsofts turf.
  • Dave Gershgorn
By Dave Gershgorn

Artificial intelligence reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Since the beginning, Siri has been the wind beneath Microsoft’s Bing.

But those winds have died down—Apple will switch the default web search in Siri and Spotlight from Bing to Google, starting today (Sept. 25).

“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,” Apple said in a statement provided to TechCrunch.

For the average user, that means when Siri doesn’t know the answer directly and searches the web it will provide top Google results as well as videos. Siri will use Google’s Search API, which means it will have access to ranked search results and the Knowledge Graph, the AI-powered system Google uses to provide higher quality information above search result links. Bing will still provide image results.

Bing has long trailed Google in market share: Eighty-one percent of global searches are done through Google, compared to Bing’s 7%.

Google will pay Apple an estimated $3 billion to be the default search engine on iPhones and iPads, according to research from Bernstein. Bing became the default search engine for Siri in 2013.

Microsoft and Google have also both increased their competition with Apple in the last year; Google bought a large portion of HTC’s phone business to support its smartphone ambitions, and Microsoft has shown reinvigorated dedication to its Surface line with laptops and desktop PCs pitched toward creatives.

While Apple’s move is undeniably good for Google’s user metrics, the search giant has been under fire in recent months for promoting misleading, fake, and inaccurate information from dubious sources at the top of simple search results. Algorithms increasingly serve as gatekeepers to the internet, as they undergird search results and social media.

Google Assistant, Google’s virtual personal assistant, is also available on Apple’s App store, but cannot be set to replace Siri as the default virtual personal assistant.

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