Over the last two days there has been some confusing information about Verizon using Bing for search on the Samsung Fascinate smartphone, which runs Android. PocketNow’s post on the matter suggests that Verizon is going to use Bing as the default search engine for all of their smartphones going forward, while Laptop Magazine reports Verizon is saying Bing will not be the only search engine for their phones.
What we do know is that Bing is the search engine on the Fascinate, which means that when you press the search button or type a search term in the address bar in the web browser, the search will be performed by Bing rather than Google. Verizon says when Android 2.2 is available for the Fascinate users will be able to download and install the Google search app from the Android Market, but that will not change which search engine is used when a user presses the phone’s search button.
While the issue of which search engine is used may not be important to the average user, it is very important to Google. It does not charge for Android, so even though Google makes money licensing some of the apps included with Android, its primary source of income from Android will be ads in mobile search. If Bing is the search engine then Microsoft gains the revenue opportunity from the mobile search rather than Google. My guess is that Google won’t lock down the search engine for Android phones for fear of claims of antitrust violations, so if Bing becomes a threat to replacing Google search on Android phones it will need to sweeten the deal with the carriers to keep their search on the phones.