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Apple considered ditching Google in favor of DuckDuckGo for private mode in Safari – Ars Technica


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Zoom in / Apple AI CEO and former Google Search head John Giannandrea.

In iOS 17, Apple recently made it easier to use Google Search alternatives in its Safari web browser’s browsing mode, but the company thought about going further by making DuckDuckGo, which is marketed as a more private alternative, the default in this context. .

like mentioned By Leah Nylen of Bloomberg This information came to light when Amit Mehta, the US District Court judge presiding over the US antitrust trial over Google Search, revealed transcripts of testimony from DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg and Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy John Gianandrea. Giannandrea served as head of Google’s search division before his current position at Apple.

Weinberg claimed in his testimony that his company had 20 or so meetings with Apple about this possibility and that he believed change would happen because previous DuckDuckGo integrations had made their way into Safari. He even said that this is the proposed integration that has not reached the “finish line.”

But Gianandrea had a different opinion. He has been heavily involved in Apple’s discussions about its future with search, and declined to switch to DuckDuckGo, in part because he felt DuckDuckGo’s “marketing around privacy is somewhat inconsistent with the details” because DuckDuckGo relies on Bing in some areas. He said he would have liked to do “more due diligence with DuckDuckGo” if the switch occurred. He previously argued against switching to DuckDuckGo in an internal company email.

These conversations occurred in the broader context of the antitrust trial over Google Search, which, by some estimates, represents 90 percent of the market. Apple is known to have a very lucrative deal with Google to use the latter’s search engine as the default option in Safari, the default web browser on iPads, Macs, and, most importantly, iPhones.

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Previous experimental testimonies revealed that Apple and Microsoft were considering a large-scale partnership or even an acquisition that would lead to the Bing search engine developed by Microsoft becoming the default engine for Apple devices. Apple at another stage reportedly believed that the only viable alternative to Google was to develop its own search engine, which it did not do, perhaps because the Google deal was too lucrative.

Judge Mehta is looking closely at Google’s deal with Apple, as the trial examines whether the search giant’s dominance is anti-competitive in the United States.

On DuckDuckGo’s part, a company spokesperson was quoted in Bloomberg as saying that the search engine is taking measures to prevent “hosting and content providers from creating a history of your searches,” contrary to Giannandrea’s statement that DuckDuckGo was not as comprehensively private as it claimed. .

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