Google is currently facing an antitrust lawsuit that was brought against the company by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for allegedly abusing its power and position in the Internet search engine industry. The suit claims that the tech giant paid massive amounts of money to smartphone manufacturers to illegally maintain a monopoly over online search content.
One of them is Apple, who is not directly named in the suit but was asked by the court to testify.
On Monday, John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior Vice President of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Strategy, testified under oath at a federal court in Washington about the multi-billion dollar deal the company had made with Google.
Google Paid Apple $7 Billion To Maintain Google Search As Default Search Engine
Earlier in the trial, the DoJ revealed that Google was paying somewhere between $4 billion and $7 billion annually to Apple to secure a top spot for Google Search on its devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Macs.
This meant that whenever a user performed a search on Apple’s Safari browser, the results would be delivered by Google Search unless it was changed by tapping into the phone’s browser settings. However, the company never publicly revealed this option to customers and the feature remained well-hidden in iPhone settings.
Users Can Choose Separate Browsers For General And Private Browsing On iOS 17
Giannandrea said in court that with the latest iOS 17 update, Apple will allow users to not only choose their preferred default search engine for normal browsing but also select a second search engine as the default for private browsing.
Interestingly, Apple never said a word about this feature in the lead-up to the launch of iOS 17 or the iPhone 15 lineup. A more likely reason for that would be the terms agreed between both the tech giants to not disclose the setting.
Giannandrea’s testimony is crucial to the DoJ’s case because before making his way to Apple in 2018, the Scottish native served as Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering for Search for eight years.
DuckDuckGo CEO Says The Setting Is More Complicated Than It Needs To Be
Meanwhile, Gabriel Weinberg, the founder, and CEO of search engine company DuckDuckGo, who was also present at the trial, stated that Google’s attempts to maintain its position as the default browser on mobile and desktop browsers could be seen as a barrier for users to turn to other search engines.
Weinberg argued that the process of switching to other browsers on Apple devices was way more complicated than it needed to be and involved “just too many steps”. He also added that the move can be seen as a case of abuse of power to deliberately stifle competition.
Google lawyer John Schmidtlein replied saying that “it is literally four taps on the phone” and users could get it done in the settings in a “matter of seconds”.
Apple initially refrained from participating in the trial and said it would not be sending any company representatives but was ordered against the decision by a Washington federal court.
How To Change The Default Search Engine On Your iPhone?
To change the default search engine on your iPhone, head over to Settings > Safari > Search. Here, you will be presented with two options – Search Engine and Private Search Engine. When tapped on the Search Engine toggle, you will be given several search engine options to choose from, such as:
Select your preferred search engine and it will be set as default on Safari. The same goes for Private Search, where you will be allowed to choose one from the above-specified options. Prior to iOS 17, users could only select one search engine for both public and private browsing.