After rumors that Samsung might be switching its in-house browser app's default search engine from Google to Bing – perhaps in time for the Galaxy S24 – a new report suggests that the change is no longer happening, which is no doubt a relief to Google.
This comes from the Wall Street Journal (via The Verge), and like the original rumor, there's not a whole lot to go off. The WSJ says that an internal review into whether Samsung should jump from Google to Bing has now been suspended, with Samsung apparently worried about disruption for users and souring its relationship with Google.
Those clearly negative aspects of any potential switch made the idea of it pretty inconceivable in the first place, though it sounds as though Samsung was thinking about it – perhaps impressed by the swift rolling out of various Bing AI features.
Staying number one
Another factor to consider in all of this is that we're talking about Samsung's own Internet Browser app: Google would of course still have been front and center in Chrome for Android. Nevertheless, the move would've made plenty of headlines.
We know that Google actually pays Apple to be the default search engine in Safari, an arrangement that's perhaps easier to swallow for Apple as it doesn't have a search engine of its own. Google then rakes in billions in ad revenue through searches run on iOS (and indeed Samsung handsets).
All that said, the WSJ cites "people familiar with the matter" as saying that Samsung "isn't permanently closing the door" on switching to Bing in the future – so Google executives might have some work to do yet.
Analysis: search is changing
One of the ways in which OpenAI and ChatGPT have changed the tech landscape is in giving Microsoft an intelligent chatbot that can return better search results in some situations. Google has since plugged its own Bard chatbot into various products, including its flagship web search engine.
That means that in future years, we might be spending less time opening up a web browser and typing out our queries, and more time interacting with a bot to get the information that we need. That in turn is likely to impact advertising revenues – both for Google and for web publishers.
It's difficult to predict how this is all going to play out, but we might get to a point where it's not so important for Google to be the number one search engine in Samsung's Internet Browser or Apple's Safari, if it's attracting users in other ways. In fact, it's something of a surprise that it's taken this long for web search to evolve beyond its original form.
There are all kinds of uncertainties going forward around how these bots grab their information and how the human beings who provide the content get compensated, but it's going to be interesting to see how the search landscape changes – and whether or not Bing (or anyone else) can truly challenge Google.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.