Today at Apple’s developer conference (read our livenotes), Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone will new getting a new search engine option: Bing. We heard rumblings of a deal in late May. Currently, Google is the default search engine on the iPhone, which can be changed to Yahoo in the settings. “”We’re adding a third option which is Bing,” says Jobs. “Google will stay the default.” Yahoo is another search option that’s been in place for a while.
As competition between Google and Apple increases on the mobile front, their once-cozy relationship is now a thing of the past. “Microsoft has don’t a really nice job on this,” praises Jobs. Not a nice enough job to replace Google as the default apparently. But the new option will put Google on notice that the default spot won’t necessarily be theirs forever.
Apple doesn’t want to get into Web search directly, but its $200 million acquisition of Siri points to a new direction in mobile search it will move towards in the future: voice-controlled virtual assistance. That technology is just in its infancy. While Apple works on perfecting it, traditional search will continue to grow on mobile phones, and playing off Google against Bing is certainly in Apple’s best interest.