Smartphone and tablet users are using their mobile devices for search more often than ever before, and mobile users are becoming more acquainted with the search options on their devices. Search engines have been competing to be featured on both browsers and devices for years. This has lead the formation of deals that have caused Android users on Nokia devices to wonder how Microsoft’s Bing became the default search engine on their Google operating system. Bing has aggressively pursued and secured default search engine deals with several mobile device manufacturers in an effort to convert users, but earlier this month, Google renewed its deal with Apple to hold its position as the default search engine on both the Apple iOS and OS X operating systems. For the price of $1 Billion, Google Search will remain the default option on both the mobile and desktop Safari web browsers.
This billion dollar deal between two competitors may seem contradictory to Steve Jobs’s declaration that Apple would go “thermonuclear” against Google’s Android mobile operating system, but Google has been Apple’s default search for years. The deal has already survived the launch of Android, which inspired the thermonuclear comment, and the removal of Google Maps from Apple mobile devices. Apple will happily take $1 billion out of Google’s coffers, and Google gets more traffic and more data from users of the most popular and successful tablets and smartphones currently available.
Apple’s deal with Google may be peaking as Samsung is now the largest provider of smartphones and other tablets start to both attract more users to mobile devices and win users away from Apple’s iPads. As the number of active mobile users grows, this deal will prove to be beneficial to Google, as it will have a large portion of mobile users in its corner. As Bing and Google compete to be featured on mobile devices, the cost of these deals will also continue to rise. But Google has one key advantage over Bing in this area. As much as Bing pays to be featured on devices, users are still choosing Google search overwhelmingly, and users who favor Google search can add either the Google Search mobile app or Chrome mobile browser to their mobile device. The Android application tracking site AppBrain lists the Bing mobile search app as having over 500,000 installations. Google’s Search App has over 100,000,000 installs. Paying to be the default search engine on mobile devices will mean less and less as users become more educated on the choices they have and the ease of adding and switching applications.
By Andrew Wise