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Mayer: Yahoo should be Apple's default search engine

updated 08:24 pm EDT, Wed April 16, 2014

CEO to make pitch to Apple to make Google search optional

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who has worked diligently to turn around the veteran search engine's fortunes with some success, is planning on appealing to Apple to make Yahoo's search engine the default choice on the Mac and iOS. Currently Apple offers Yahoo as a option for search, but uses Google as a default (and Bing to power Siri inquiries). Mayer may seen an opportunity to advance Yahoo's already-friendly relationship with Apple, given its fight with Google over Android and patents.



While Apple has studiously avoided suing Google directly over what former CEO Steve Jobs claimed was its "stolen" Android OS, the company has won numerous victories against hardware makers (including Google-owned Motorola, and most notably Samsung) for copying specific features, some victories even resulting in sales injunctions until workarounds were implemented. The current Apple-Samsung patent trial edges ever closer to an all-out assault on specific features in Android that appear to have been copied wholesale from Apple following the original introduction of the iPhone.

Apple has been distancing itself from both Samsung and Google whenever possible, though it is still dependent on both for certain products and services, such as a search engine in the case of Google. As the relationship between the two tech giant continues to strain, however, Apple could consider making Yahoo the default engine, demoting Google to simply being an option and leaving the choice to users. History suggests that most users never change the default search engine option, regardless of what it is set to.

Apple has some incentives not to switch, however. Currently, Google pays Apple some $1 billion per year in commission for traffic driven to its ad network and servers, reports AppleInsider. There is also the question of user familiarity, and the way Google's services seamlessly integrate with Apple's APIs to provide a high quality of experience for users. Finally, Apple may not want to risk alienating Google so as to not endanger the roughly-on par release of iOS apps for Google products and services.

However, Mayer and Yahoo SVP of Mobile Adam Cahan are said to be "aggressively" working on a plan to woo Apple. The iPhone maker has had a good relationship with Yahoo under Mayer, and has gradually increased its use of Yahoo's financial, weather and sports information within iOS. Whether it would be able to match Google's commitment to mobile and desktop users remains to be seen.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 01-15-03

    Ive tried using Yahoo and Bing as alternatives to Yahoo when it comes to search. They are just not up to par at all. Google is still the best search choice.

  1. elroth

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-05-06

    I don't agree - I've found Bing to be just as good as Google, except for it's images search. I didn't care for Yahoo last time I tried it (over a year ago).

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I've just recently changed my Safari default search to Yahoo as an experiment. So far, results are good -- layout could use a bit of work, though. I'll stay with it for a while and see how I like it, but what I'd really like to find is a substitute for Google Image Search.

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 02-27-09

    Whenever this issue comes up people always say that one or the other search engine is far and away better than the other, but the truth is that they are all more or less equal, but each has a different "style" or emphasises different things.

    So what's really happening when you switch to a different a search engine is only that it's not operating in the same way as you are used to. For instance Bing will strongly prioritise anything in quotes, whereas Google likes to take the position that quotes are more of a mistake than a direction from the user. These kinds of things are the only real differences between search engines and just as when when you switch Operating Systems, there is a period of time where you have to get used to how the new thing serves you.

    In other words, if Google disappeared tomorrow, people would switch to Yahoo and Bing, and in a month or two no one would care because they would have gotten used to the new engine and the type of results it displays.

  1. drbroom

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-28-06

    Yahoo (& Bing)... YUCK!!!!

  1. Steve Wilkinson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-19-01

    Yahoo has a search engine??? ;)

    Honestly, I don't think I've purposely been to Yahoo in years. I suppose I should check it out again some day, but I'm not sure going with a search engine that is fairly irrelevant in the Internet world would be a good thing. I understand wanting to break the Google grip, but I'm not sure going Yahoo would be a good move.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Steve: you probably have and didn't know it. For example, Siri's sports scores come from Yahoo, the Apple weather app on your phone uses Yahoo, and I think their financial section is the best around. That said, I've never been a fan of their search engine, so I'm really trying to give it a fair shake this time.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Lately, I've been quite partial to DuckDuckGo.com . They claim to not track you like Google.

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 05-08-01

    Bing is actually pretty good. I like it. But I asked the same question @Steve Wilkinson said when I read this article: "Yahoo still has a search engine?"

    Honestly, I thought they outsourced that to Google years ago. (So why use them if you are getting Google results?) Maybe they brought it back in house. I didn't notice.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Might as well... I'm getting really fed up with Bing's ridiculously slow search engine which sometimes takes 6 weeks to get fixed/back to normal speed.
    The other thing Bing did as of like yesterday is that they changed the image search engine so that once you click on an image, you can't scroll around on the page to get to the "Page Source" link because it's buried under the bottom edge of the browser window and scrolling just cycles the thumbnails randomly
    It's so extremely/obnoxiously annoying.
    Plus stupid Bing's search results are terrible.


    ...but so are stupider Google's and stupidest Yahoo's.

    Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest control our internet search engines. :


    I've been waiting 14 years for search engines to return to the quality they used to have....

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by GazoobeeView Post

    In other words, if Google disappeared tomorrow, people would switch to Yahoo and Bing, and in a month or two no one would care because they would have gotten used to the new engine and the type of results it displays.



    Until web developers alter their webpage content to optimize search results for whatever search engine replaces it?

    Google seems really good at determining when content is being manipulated, and that includes serving different content based on user agent. I wouldn't be surprised if the other search engines attempt to mimic its pagerank system, because that is the one that most people care about the most.

  1. Steve Wilkinson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-19-01

    @ chas_m - Hehe, yea, I'm sure I've used Yahoo in a couple of those ways (don't have Siri though).

    @ driven - I was kind of kidding, but I do seem to recall something like that some years ago. Hmm. But, I remember actually using Yahoo for search and listings back in the day (mid-90's). I just haven't used it much since then. :) Remember WebCrawler, Lycos, AltaVista or Excite?

    @ And.reg - IMO, Google still rules in actual search technology. I just don't like many of the other things the company is doing, as well as how they are so clueless at UI.

    @ besson3c - I agree. Google is not only good at that, but so good, it's about the only search engine web designers pay any attention to. And, I'd hate to go back to much of the 'gaming' that was going on in the past. So, in that regard, I'm happy to have Google be the most popular, as I like good content to win, not SEO games.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by Steve WilkinsonView Post

    @ besson3c - I agree. Google is not only good at that, but so good, it's about the only search engine web designers pay any attention to. And, I'd hate to go back to much of the 'gaming' that was going on in the past. So, in that regard, I'm happy to have Google be the most popular, as I like good content to win, not SEO games.




    I'm also tired of coming across people that claim to be "SEO experts" that come with all of these lofty promises about what they'll be able to provide, and when it comes for them to actually provide stuff their advice is all circa early 2000s or late 1990s or something (e.g. creating lots of keyword meta tags). I'm sure there are those that can genuinely help, particularly with companies that don't have a competent programmer/developer at their disposal, but my (limited) experience with these people has given me the impression that there are many snake oil salespeople out there.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Originally Posted by Steve WilkinsonView Post


    @ And.reg - IMO, Google still rules in actual search technology.



    I must disagree. Google sucks. Back in the late 90s, there were infinitely better search engines (DirectHit, HotBot, Excite, even Lycos and Altavista)...and they all gave dead-on search results for even obscure stuff.

    But then after 2000, all these search engines just seemed to vanish. Teoma and Yahoo bought many of them out, and what search engines were left just went way down in quality. Now I tend to get so much irrelevant junk no matter what I use. (Image search result quality has gotten somewhat better.)

    Why did that transition around 2000 even happen??

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Back in the 90s there was also far less content in existence.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    I think that Apple should just make their own search engine.

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    Originally Posted by And.regView Post

    I think that Apple should just make their own search engine.



    God no, that would be a death sentence.

    What one Apple web service has performed nobly at a large scale? Not only would searches need to be as quick or quicker than Google/Bing/Yahoo, but likewise for data collection/bot spidering.

    Apple has yet to prove that they are good at building web services. Maybe if they want to change this they should start with a stage less wide-open to the public, such as one of their existing web services, and winning over hearts and minds there?

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post

    God no, that would be a death sentence.



    Didn't they say that about Apple making their own Maps?

  1. besson3c

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 03-03-01

    And from a PR standpoint it was a death sentence at launch. Apple may still be paying the price for those initial impressions.

    But even if Maps is in great shape now, the traffic it gets would pale in comparison to a search engine that Apple would presumably make their default at some point.

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