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Google wants to lure iPhone owners away from Safari with its apps

Google is having to tough time convincing iPhone owners to make the switch.

Published onJuly 5, 2024

  • Google is looking to push more iPhone users to use its apps.
  • The goal is to limit the potential impact of Search possibly losing its default status on Safari.
  • The company has considered locking AI-powered features to its own apps, but ultimately decided against it.

You may remember hearing reports that Google is paying Apple billions to keep Search as the default search engine option on Safari. Additionally, you may remember hearing that Google is facing an antitrust lawsuit regarding the practice. A new report claims that the Mountain View-based firm is attempting to prepare for the possibility of losing its default status by trying to get more iPhone users to use its Google or Chrome apps for their searches.

Google and Apple currently have a revenue-sharing agreement for Google Search to remain the default search engine on the mobile version of Safari. However, the judge in charge of making a ruling on the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust case is expected to hand down their decision in the next few months.

According to a report from The Information, Google is trying to protect itself from the consequences of losing the case by encouraging iPhone owners to use its apps for searches. So far, the tech giant has had some success, increasing the number of queries done on its apps from 25% to 30% over the span of five years. However, Google’s goal is to have 50% of searches on iPhone go through its apps by 2030 and the company is struggling to grow past 30%.

To try and tempt iPhone owners to switch, Google tried highlighting features exclusive to Google apps — like Lens — in ads. It’s said that executives even considered locking its AI Overviews feature to its apps, but ultimately decided against it.

Google’s initiative makes sense, especially considering that losing its position as the default search engine on Safari could cause the company to lose an estimated 70% of searches done on iPhones. Reducing dependence on Safari would also lower the amount of money it has to pay Apple for being the default search engine. A loss in this case would also hurt Apple as it earned over $20 billion last year off of its deal with Google.

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