Company / division: Bing
Apple has quietly switched the search back end for its Siri voice assistant and what used to be called Spotlight search to Google, after relying on Bing for several years. Bing will continue to provide the image search results in Siri, but is otherwise being replaced by Google. That’s a fascinating turn of events after several years of Apple removing Google from various elements of its built-in systems, from switching to its own maps to elimination the YouTube app to offering a variety of alternative default search providers in Safari, to this use of Bing behind the scenes. Although there’s obviously been some speculation that money was a factor here, and it may well have been, I suspect this ultimately comes down to wanting to provide the best possible experience in these various settings, and that means using Google. That’s ultimately the same reason that Apple hasn’t switched away from Google as the default search engine within Safari in Western markets – Google is the gold standard, and everything else still comes up short. I do wonder if this is part of a quiet renewal of the longstanding relationship between the two companies, which always prompts speculation about Apple replacing Google as the default. That certainly seems less likely now, as Apple in its brief public statement on this news has emphasized the need for consistency across experiences within iOS and macOS, suggesting that Google is here to stay as the default search option in Safari. That’s a big win for Google and a big loss for Microsoft, for which Apple’s partnership was a rare bright spot on mobile, while it continues to take decent share on the desktop by virtue of Windows’ dominance there.
Bing Adds Fact Check Summaries to News Search Results (Sep 18, 2017)
I saw this story first thing this morning and originally eliminated it as a candidate for inclusion on the site because it felt so marginal – it sometimes seems as though Google is the overwhelming leader in search and Bing such an also-ran that it doesn’t merit covering. But the reality is that Bing has somewhere over 20% market share in search in the US through a combination of apathy from users of Microsoft operating systems or browsers and active preference, so it’s not as marginal as it might seem, for all that Google gets massively more attention in this space. At any rate, the news is that Bing is adding a little fact checking feature to its news search results, but in a somewhat unsatisfactory way. Rather than flagging potentially false news itself, it will instead highlight the conclusions of fact checking articles from sites like Snopes when they happen to appear in search results. That’s a pretty tame and potentially not very helpful way to flag fake news, and I’d hope that Microsoft eventually goes a little further and puts links to fact-checking sites directly in the preview for dodgy news articles. Google’s version of the feature goes a little further but putting the fact check article at the top of the listings for at least some searches, and that seems like the right way to go here.
via The Verge