Apple yesterday unveiled iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, two brand-new products that besides several features and design cues, are also sharing the same search engine which, surprisingly, is powered by Microsoft.Bing, Microsoft’s search engine which has slowly evolved from a simple web-based interface to a truly powerful platform now at the core of several key products, is also the search engine of choice for iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, which at some level is surprising news for Microsoft fanboys.
Cortana, Microsoft's very own personal assistant that's now available on Windows Phone 8.1, is also based on Bing, to provide search results and information whenever the user asks for it. In iOS 7, Siri, which was often referred to as Cortana's biggest rival, was also using Bing to provide results to questions that weren't already configured by Apple.
In iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, on the other hand, Bing will search for information both locally and online, just like it does on Windows 8. You'll thus get mail and calendar data, documents, contacts and online data, such as news, Wikipedia articles, and movie times, in a similar fashion with Bing Smart Search.
“Last year Bing became the default web search for Siri, and will now also be the default web search provider in the redesigned Spotlight search feature for the next generation of iOS and OS X. We’re excited about extending the Bing platform to help iOS and Mac customers find what they need to get things done,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
The Cortana – Siri duel, on the other hand, raises some questions and many wonder whether Microsoft is giving the Windows Phone platform a fair advantage by restricting some of the features of its search option. Microsoft, however, claims that Bing and Siri won't be so deeply integrated as it currently happens on Windows Phone and results provided by its search engine will actually be displayed “as a section.”
“It is different from Siri in that Bing web searches will show up as a section when you search. Wikipedia will have its own section, but other specifics and info on how news search will be integrated aren’t available just yet.”
But as my colleague Filip Truta told you earlier today, the partnership between Apple and Microsoft doesn't really mean that the two tech giants are now fighting for the same purpose, because at the end of the end, each of them need to make their own platform better than its rival's. But it's still safe to say that with this move, Microsoft now has a pretty big advantage.