Report: Samsung is considering dropping Google for Bing search on Galaxy Android phones
A dilemma for Google.
What you need to know
- Google has lucrative "default search engine" deals with both Apple and Samsung.
- According to a new report, Samsung is considering ditching Google for Bing.
- Bing has resurged over the past year, owing to integration with OpenAI's powerful ChatGPT AI conversation systems.
- Read on for more!
The AI wars are heating up.
Smelling blood in the water, Microsoft has been working tirelessly to bake ChatGPT AI models into virtually all of its products. So far, the most prolific example of that has been Bing Chat. Bing Chat is a new section on Microsoft's oft-derided number 2 search engine that allows users to search with natural human language, and receive natural human language results in return. Powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT-4, Bing has exclusive rights to commercial use of the machine learning models from the firm, prompting a furor of panic at search leader Google.
For decades Google has been the de-facto king of the search arena — and for good reason. Google's search results have long simply been the best, offering more accurate results than competitors, while paying more careful attention to smaller, localized markets. Bing, formerly MSN Search, has been playing catch up for decades. To Microsoft's credit, Bing has offered some compelling differentiation with its powerful Microsoft Rewards points program, essentially paying users for activity on the service. However, features like Bing Maps and local search results outside of the United States leave a lot to be desired. Bing Chat has given the service a much-needed jolt, and Samsung seems to agree.
A report from the New York Times has suggested that Samsung is considering leaving Google behind as the default search engine on its devices. Having the "default" setting on a device, whether it's a search engine or a web browser, is incredibly lucrative, since the vast majority of users simply aren't interested in tweaking any settings. Documents described by NYT note that Google reacted to the news with "panic," as Samsung negotiates a renewal of its contract with the search giant. Should Samsung opt out of Google as its default search engine, it could hit the firm's annual search revenue to the tune of $3 billion dollars. Famously, Apple was also using Bing as its default provider for a few years but ultimately opted back into the Google fold back in 2017. Apple's contract with Google is worth anywhere up to $20 billion according to estimates, and like Samsung's, is also up for renegotiation this year.
Google has been rapidly trying to shore up its own ChatGPT-like features, including Google Bard, which has been the subject of some mockery since its launch. Its failure to provide accurate results resulted in a hit on the company's share price a few weeks ago. The report suggests Google is looking to "radically" change its search engine to see off threats from Bing and AI, including a new conversational search flow similar to Bing Chat. Internal conversations described by NYT said that Google employees were asked to bring ideas for a "pitch" to Samsung, which was met with incredulity and shock for the very idea that the Android phone giant could be considering rival defaults.
Microsoft and Samsung have been closely partnered on a number of initiatives for Android in recent years. Windows Phone Link feature is directly baked into the Samsung OneUI Android OS, rather than existing as a separate app. OneDrive also serves as the default platform for Galaxy phone backups, while offering a range of pre-installed Microsoft apps on various handsets.
Part of Android's licensing agreement for Google Play services includes the requirement for Google apps like Search and Chrome to be pre-installed, but regulatory scrutiny from the EU and beyond may chip away at some of these requirements. Famously in the late 90s, Microsoft was forced by regulators to offer a default browser choice to the Windows setup flow, which served as the catalyst for the rise of Google Chrome. Google has already been forced to offer similar choices in the Android out-of-box experience as well in some markets, but its market share doesn't seem to have suffered greatly as a result. With new features in Bing, however, that could begin to change as more users adapt their search habits.
Would Samsung, or even Apple opt for Bing AI search over Google? Only time will tell, but it would be a massive coup for Microsoft and put a large dent in Google's search dominance as a result.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
I just hope they don't get rid of Microsoft Rewards lmao
If push comes to shove, Google could play hardball with Samsung by restricting/cutting off their access to Gapps, although it would admittedly be akin to a "nuclear option" since Google also stands to lose a lot there and they couldn't bully Samsung around like they could, say, a smaller phone manufacturer.
Google has no choice but to butter up Samsung.