In March 2023, rumours were going strong that Samsung was looking at alternative to Google as a search engine of the brand’s handheld devices. The Korean manufacturer presumably was considering equipping its future devices with Microsoft’s Bing software as a replacement… But what would this change actually involve for the brand and its users? How likely are we to see Bing search engine on Samsung smartphones and tablets?
An actual threat for Google
2023 has been a not-so-great year so far in Mountain View. First, the firm was the centre of critics for its massive layoffs at the end of 2022. Then, the brand has come up a bit short on the AI front when compared to buzzing OpenAI’s chatGPT and Microsoft Copilot… On the AI front, Google has been perceived as a late runner when compared to Microsoft. A price that it has to pay now.
With such an addition of issues (and headlines), the company’s investors appear anxious as to wether the brand’s leadership capacities to lead the business forward… As a matter of fact, Samsung actually ditching Google’s search engine could increase its decline on the tech scene…
On their end, Microsoft has been gaining significant traction with its new version of Bing. For a while, Bing was a second class citizen as a search engine and sat at the back of the squad. But since Microsoft integrated OpenAI ChatGPT into the software has made the software impressively popular in short amount of time. Although more really comparable to Google’s download rate, Microsoft’s search engine was downloaded by 100 million users. This is also widely due to Microsoft integrating AI Image generator All-E and creating the Bing Image Creator as well.
However, it’s not by far like Google doesn’t have any means to retaliate… And the stakes are significant enough for Google to engage now.
What is new on Bing?
With ChatGPT, Bing becomes an augmented search engine that is able to understand what users are looking for even if the query is not clear. The search engine is able to complete sentences according to the initial input. More exclusively, it also feature a chat experience allowing for more detailed or refined search around a topic.
How did Microsoft use OpenAI in the new Bing search engine?
Working in partnership with OpenAI, Microsoft first implemented the language model of ChatGPT into its new version of Bing. However, they also developed their own AI model which is called Prometheus on the basis of the ChatGPT model.
Additionally, using AI in the context of a search engine allowed Microsoft to massively improve the relevance of indexing web pages, providing a more accurate classification of resources and improving the relevance of every search query.
Why it could be hard for Samsung to ditch Google as a search engine
Walking away from Google might reveal itself more complicated than it seems. Simply put, it could mean getting out of the while Android ecosystem, which Google actually owns. Indeed, manufacturers wishing to use Android as a platform are bound by an agreement with Google which entails them to use the Play Store and others apps from Google’s. As expected, the agreement also stipulates a set of others rules among which is the obligation to use Google’s own search engine by default!
Therefore, walking away from Google as a search engine would actually mean forfeiting on using the Play Store and other fundamental apps like Gmail, Google Maps and much more. Although it’s possible, that would take some major reshape in term of structure (Samsung would probably have to develop their services), but a major shift for the users. Which they might not be willing to take…
And then, there is the matter of legislation. In Europe, lawmakers have passed laws several years ago to force Google to let users install their own choice of core softwares like search engine. Therefore, enabling their own default search engine would mean, somehow, breaking the European law for Samsung. That would expose the manufacturer to sanctions like Google has incurred in 20218. This forced the firm to propose multiple choice of search engine on Android devices.
In 2023, AI is undeniably shaking things up in many industries, including the smartphones and handheld device industry. On that front, it appears that Google has been running a bit behind when compared to Microsoft and OpenAI. As a result, Bing (whose new version boast enriched feature thanks to a distribution of the ChatGPT model) appears ahead of Google for search engine capacities. However, parting from Google (as Samsung seems to be considering the possibility) presents lots of challenges, since that would mean basically parting for the whole Android ecosystem (owned by Google) as well to going against certain legal jurisdictions (such as the EU). Therefore, although it is a possibility that we might see some devices running Bing instead of Google, this wouldn’t be possible without undergoing important changes for Samsung. Namely, developing a proprietary ecosystem.