Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Apple considered changing the Google search engine in Safari. There’s a reason they didn’t do it.

Manzana considered replacing Google as a search engine for private browsing in Safari by DuckDuckGo, although he ultimately rejected the idea. According to Bloombergspokespersons for both companies offered details about this negotiation during the antitrust trial against Google that is taking place in the United States, detailing that DuckDuckGo had approximately 20 meetings and phone calls with Apple executives to try to make this change a reality.

Gabriel Weinberg, head of DuckDuckGo, stated during the trial that The conversations between your company and Apple took place during 2018 and 2019. And he even went so far as to talk to the CEO of Safari with the goal of making his search engine the default in private browsing mode in Safari. Weinberg even confirmed that he thought Apple was going to make the change.

Apple executive John Giannandrea also testified at the trial, stating that the company had no intention of integrating DuckDuckGo’s technology in Safari private browsing. In fact, according to the aforementioned media, Giannandrea sent an email to other Apple executives in 2019 stressing that the change “was probably a bad idea.”

Apple rejected DuckDuckGo over security concerns

Apple, in fact, assumed that like DuckDuckGo used Bing technology for its searches, it was very likely that the company shared user data with Microsoft. This also led the company to believe that DuckDuckGo’s privacy marketing is “somewhat inconsistent with the details.”

The antitrust trial against Google has also revealed some interesting details about Apple’s business in implementing default search engines on its devices. The most important one is Microsoft’s intention to sell its search engine, Bing, to Apple. It is something that would have caused the company to replace Google with Bing in Safari and on all its devices.

Apple is also working on its own search engine through a project called “Pegasus.” The firm, in fact, already uses its search technology in some of its services, including Siri or in the iPhone’s own search engine. It does so, however, in a much more limited way. It is not clear if Apple will launch its own search engine for its devices or if, instead, it will continue with Google, which has a million-dollar agreement.

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