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Žan Černe
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Technology ·

Apple and Google’s Percentage-Based Search Engine Deal

I’m an Apple fan like no other. Sometimes my girlfriend makes fun of me by saying that I spend almost no money on clothes and other non-essential items just to be able to comfortably buy any Apple product I wish. However, there are quite a few things that bother me about the big tech giant.

Bloomberg broke this story stating:

Google pays Apple Inc. 36% of the revenue it earns from search advertising made through the Safari browser.

This is a huge number on top of an already lucrative fixed 18 billion dollars per year default search deal made between the two. I find this incentive structure hugely disturbing, and I can’t wrap my head around the implications of this deal on the end consumer. Even the 18 billion dollars per year deal alone was scary enough; however, this new information really puts Apple’s privacy-focused marketing stunts into perspective.

One thing I’ve noticed while using Siri is how it responds to web queries. The answer consists of some website options along with the ‘Show Google Results’ button, which is present even with a different default search engine. This is a completely different approach from how Google Assistant does it (by trying to summarize and be helpful - good for the user). I’m not expecting anything from Siri, but I still find this weird and problematic - probably the result of this deal.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine for a while on all of my devices. I’m not saying it’s perfect; however, I think you might want to give it a try.

Here’s how to change the default search engine on Apple devices:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Safari.
  3. Under the Search section, click Search Engine.
  4. Select your preferred search engine.

Apple gives you only a couple of options other than Google, like Yahoo (Verizon), Bing (Microsoft), DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia.

To be honest, that’s quite a small selection for a market worth 167 billion in 2021. Even if Apple allowed custom search engines, the current market situation wouldn’t look that much different because most (Apple) users will never change their default search engine.

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