The default search engine for Apple’s iOS is currently Google. It’s been a lucrative coup for Google due to the amount of traffic this has exposed to their advertising servers. Google, though, can’t rest on their laurels as they need to keep one eye on their competition. One particular rival is Yahoo and, in particular, their CEO, Marissa Mayer.
Yahoo, along with Bing, is set up as an optional search engine in Safari, but the default setting is for Google. The majority of users stick with the default setting as they don’t want to fiddle with the settings too much and, besides, everyone knows that Google is top dog for search results. Mayer, though, has different ideas and is working on a forceful pitch to change Apple’s mind.
At present, Yahoo isn’t considered a second or third option by Google by any stretch of the imagination. Yahoo has a visible presence in iOS7 and helps to power their weather and stock apps. They also operate some functions in Siri, but did lose out to Bing in powering Siri’s search function. Yahoo, then, is determined to make a big impact on iOS.
Desktop traffic distribution of the major search engines:
Marissa is working very hard on turning Yahoo into the giant it once was and she’s got quite a challenge there. Just to get a sense of a proportion of Yahoo’s current stat, comparing to other search engines, here are a few numbers I took out from SimilarWeb PRO:
What you see here is the desktop traffic share of each search engine on a global scale and for the UK and US. As you can see, Google is taking the lead for all 3 of them, and with quite a large gap.
Seeing these numbers, Mayer’s decision to aim for mobile domination is not only smart, but probably more realistic than trying to take over the web arena. Having missed out with previous attempts at updating their search engine capabilities, Mayer is now working quietly on a number of search engine products with Adam Cahan, Yahoo SVP for mobile. Mayer has approached senior executives such as Apple’s head of design, Jony Ive – who also happens to be a personal friend of Mayer. Interestingly, Mayer previously worked at Google for 13 years, so her inside information of how they operate could be key to providing a successful pitch.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Yahoo has tried to poach business from Google. Mayer has already discussed plans to create a video site concentrating on professional content e.g. channels for celebrities and brands rather than funny cat videos. Focusing on these important areas could really deal a blow to YouTube. It highlights how Mayer is not willing to sit back and more than happy to compete at the highest level.
Could it happen?
Google clearly runs the search engine market, but change is possible. Many years ago, Yahoo was my go to search engine. Gradually, though, Google proved to be more efficient and meet my needs better. Google have moved so far ahead, though, that it remains a difficult task to usurp them from iOS as the default search engine.
Yahoo, though, have a large stake in Alibaba who are about to launch their IPO on the US stock exchange. Expected to be the largest IPO ever, Yahoo are likely to receive billions from this. This opens up room for further investment into their search engine. The battle between Yahoo and Google is win-win for the end user as it promises to see significant advancements in the search ability for iOS7.
At present, judging by the comments on 9-5mac, Yahoo are going to have their work cut out persuading consumers that this a good move for Apple. Mayer, though, remains resolute that they can provide superior search engine results and a more effective ad network to bring in revenue for Apple. Details are sketchy as to how far along Yahoo are with their pitch, but samples are already said to be with Apple, so only time will tell if they succeed.