There was a time, ante the iOS-Android rivalry, that Apple and Google seemed like natural and complimentary business partners. Indeed in 2006 Apple elected Google co-founder and CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt to Apple’s board of directors.
“Eric is obviously doing a terrific job as CEO of Google, and we look forward to his contributions as a member of Apples board of directors, commented Apple’s then-CEO, Steve Jobs at the time. “Like Apple, Google is very focused on innovation and we think Eric’s insights and experience will be very valuable in helping to guide Apple in the years ahead.
Eric Schmidt was no less effusive, commenting: “Apple is one of the companies in the world that I most admire. I’m really looking forward to working with Steve and Apple’s board to help with all of the amazing things Apple is doing.
It was not to last. Three year later to the month, on August 3, 2009, Apple much more tersely announced that Schmidt was resigning from Apple’s Board, Steve Jobs diplomatically explaining that “Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful. “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board.”
Soon after that, Mr. Jobs was being much less polite about Google. In January 2010, after Taiwan’s HTC introduced an Android phone incorporating many of the the iPhone’s feature set, in an expletive-laden diatribe declaring Google’s actions amounted to “grand theft”. Jobs’s official biographer Walter Isaacson quoted his subject vowing “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs told Isaacson. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
I’ve been something of a Google fan over the years, and I have to say that in general, Google’s more freewheeling, Internet-based philosophy of providing high-quality free content (albeit ad-based, which doesn’t offend me) suits my taste much better than Apple’s more locked-down, app-oriented “walled garden” approach. Also, on substance, Google’s applications, whether they be freestanding ones like the Chrome browser, or Web-based like Google Docs, appeal to me more than Apple’s Safari and Pages, for example.
Consequently, Google had been my search engine of choice pretty much to the exclusion of all others since I first discovered it in the late ’90s. I’ve also had several Gmail accounts since that email service was in by invitation or referral only beta development, and Google’s Chrome browser is one of the core, non-optional elements in my suite of production applications. I find Google Translate the best, fastest, slickest, and most convenient machine translation engine (especially when used with Chrome or Roccat), and Google Maps is likewise the class of the field in its category, as users let Apple know with their reaction to Apple’s Maps replacement introduced with iOS 6.
Giving Bing a Try
Microsoft is of course an Apple frenemy of decades standing, but given Redmond’s ineffectuality in penetrating Apple’s dominant smartphone, tablet computer, and music downloads categories, at the present time at least it makes a more logical complimentary ally than more directly competitive Google. I finally overcame my longstanding inclination to shun Microsoft products, and got around to trying out Microsoft’s Bing search engine in the interest of research. To my surprise, I discovered that Bing is pretty good. I kept waiting for some angularity or annoyance to send me scurrying back to the reliability and speed of Google, but none turned up. Bing was fast and reliable too, and it seemed just as efficient as Google in finding whatever I’m looking for. Indeed – could it be possible? – at times Bing seemed even faster and capable of yielding more useful results than Google. Consequently, I’ve continued using it, with Google taking a backseat.
Bing now has a permanent place in my workflow toolkit — always open in a browser tab on both my Macs and my iPad.
I still use Google as well, since it still has an edge is in tasks like suggesting useful results from misspelled search keywords — and even helpfully offering corrections. Bing still has some work to do there. Another thing I miss in Bing is Google’s handier search-engine-as-handy-calculator function, which lets you type math equations into the search field and brings up the solution without having to go to a calculator app. Also absolutely love Google’s iOS Search app, for which there’s no Microsoft or Yahoo! equivalent available, at least on the Canadian Apple App Store, although a Bing iOS app can be downloaded from the mothership U.S. App Store. according to IPad in Canada’s Gary Ng, Microsoft did post the Bing iOS app on international App Store sites (including Canada) briefly last month, but quickly removed it from all but the U.S. Store, explaining (sort of) that the initial release of their Bing app was intended to have been for the US only, butch had inadvertently made it available in all countries in which the Apple Marketplace has a presence, noticed the error within 24 hours, and removed availability for all countries except for the U.S.
Microsoft reportedly told CNET that: “We are planning to release international versions of the Bing iPhone application, but we have no dates to share at this time. Similar to our larger international strategy with Bing, we don’t want to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we want to be thoughtful and ensure we’re customizing the product for specific markets.”
Bing has an edge when used on older, slower Macs like my still-in-service G4-upgraded Pismo PowerBooks in the context of search keyword autofill. Both search engines support autofill, but I find that Google’s tends to be slower on the old G4s than Bing’s, for whatever reason.
Bing is the latest iteration of Microsoft’s Internet search engine — previously known as Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search. Announced on May 28, 2009, it went fully live a few days later on June 3. Shortly thereafter, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced a ten-year deal whereby Bing would also power Yahoo! Search, with the transition to be completed by early 2012. Yahoo! Search powered by Bing would still maintain its own user interface.
Since its 2009 rollout, Bing and Bing powered Yahoo! initially gained market share, but by mid-2012 had plateaued at around 25 percent of browser traffic. However, there is indication that Bing/Yahoo! is gaining market share again. Keith Wilson, vice president of agency products at The Search Agency said last week that the firm’s Q1 2013 State of Paid Search Report survey found that after four consecutive quarters of a relatively consistent market share split between Google and Bing, Bing’s share of advertiser spend grew to 21 percent, up 3.6 percent YoY and 3 percent QoQ in Q1 2013. Bing saw particularly strong growth on tablets, increasing its share of spend from 10.6 to 15.3 percent YoY.
“Bing has been ferociously working to grab market share from Google, particularly battling it out on tablet devices, says Wilson. “The study also showed tablets continue to be a driving force consumers are hitting the tablets to shop and buy, with tablet performance steadily increasing over the past five quarters. I don’t see this slowing anytime soon.”
Bing’s user interface is clean, but not as Spartan as Google’s. An attractive background picture changes daily, although I rarely see it since I keep Bing up and running all the time usually displaying the last search results. Bing also features integration with both Microsoft’s Outlook email service and with Facebook.
Bing for iPad is a dedicated search app that can be used to search and browse news, movies, Bing homepage images, local businesses and so forth.
Bing for iPad features include:
• Swipe through our touch enabled movie listings, news articles, trending topics, local businesses and other rich, immersive search results.
• Stay current with the latest news, traffic, weather, stock quotes, movies and popular searches from the main screen.
• Bing Local and Map integration to help you find the places you are looking for from directions with real-time tracking to immersive road, traffic, aerial and “bird’s eye” views.
• Follow the latest news and trending topics with beautifully iPad optimized results with rich images and magazine inspired layouts.
• Tell Bing what you are searching for with voice activated search.
• Touch friendly, grid view of image searches, with source site details and full page preview.
• Easily navigate between Bing results and websites as Bing frames the site to make it easy to return the search or to launch a new one.
Bing for iPad is Free
Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
For more information, visit:
It was also reported this month that Apple and Yahoo! executives have entered discussions about ways for the two companies to collaborate more closely on mobile software, with Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer meeting with Apple senior vice president of internet services Eddy Cue to discuss ways Yahoo! can be more deeply integrated into the software that runs on the iPhone and iPad, according to an insider source who wished to remain anonymous. Apple and Yahoo! began forging closer ties last year when Yahoo! sports information was integrated into Apple’s Siri voice-recognition software. Expanded Apple\Yahoo! cooperation is expected to include deals for Apple to extract more content from Yahoo News and its other Web properties to be incorporated into Apple portable devices or offered via an expanded Siri partnership. CBR Mobility News says Yahoo! is reportedly considering several strategies whereby it would offer Web-search results to Apple, in a bid to reduce the latter’s reliance on Google, and while there are details still to be worked out due to Yahoo’s collaboration with Microsoft, and Apple’s deal to use Google’s Web-search service as the default search engine in its devices.
Yahoo! also this month released Yahoo! Mail version 1.5 — a dedicated tablet version of its iPhone Mail application especially for iOS users on the iPad supporting the iPad and iPad mini’s screen resolutions, and an iPhone-only Yahoo! Weather for iOS.
Features of “Yahoo! Mail 1.5 for iPhone/iPad” include:
• Access your inbox with a single tap
• Receive automatic notifications for new messages
• Quickly scan messages in your inbox with continuous scroll
• Autocomplete email addresses as you type
• Swipe left on any message to delete, flag, move, mark as read and more
• Multi-select messages to organize your inbox faster
• Easily attach photos or take new ones while composing a message
• Preview photos right at the top of a message
• Search through all messages across all folders
New in This Release:
Dedicated iPad and iPad mini support with ull screen Reading mode in which email with photos, newsletters, and shared articles now appears beautifully in full screen at the tap of a button. Flip through messages as in a magazine.
Advanced options for message actions: Upon selection, messages are automatically grouped by sender, so you can keep your Inbox more organized. Delete unnecessary social media notifications, star messages from a friend, move messages from family into folders, all in a few taps.
New “Starred” folder: Conveniently find all your starred messages in one place. Available on both iPhone and iPad
• iOS 6.0 or later
• Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad
You can download Yahoo! Mail 1.5 for iPad for free at:
Yahoo! Weather Version: 1.0.1 for iPhone combines an attractive photo interface with what it claims are the most accurate forecasts.
- Photos that match your location, time of day, and current weather condition
- Detailed weather information and forecasts
- Interactive radar, satellite, heat, and wind maps, plus sunrise/sunset times
- Swipe vertically for detailed weather information
- Swipe horizontally for favorite locations
- Submit photos to the app at Project Weather on Flickr
For more information, visit:
Yahoo! Mail Teams Up With Dropbox
if you’re an Apple-using Dropbox fan, there’s more good news:
A Dropbox Blog says:
Email attachments can be tricky: they’ve got file size limits, you cant keep them updated, and when you add people to a thread, attachments are the first to get left behind.
The Yahoo! Mail team decided to fix this by integrating with Dropbox. If you’re using a Yahoo! Mail account in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish, you’ll now be able to access your Dropbox from right inside your Yahoo! Mail inbox. You can add stuff from Dropbox to any email message and save attachments back to Dropbox, too.
Since this integration is Dropbox-powered, you can even send that big album of vacation pics without worrying about the 25 MB file limit. Plus, its easy to save any photo, video, or doc in your Yahoo! Mail straight to your Dropbox, where you can get to it from anywhere.
Yahoo! Mail Director of Product Management Gaurav Mishra adds:
If you already use Dropbox, you can get started right away. If you’re new to Dropbox, simply click on any attachment you receive in Yahoo! Mail, select Save all to, then Save to Dropbox, then follow the instructions to set up a new (free) Dropbox account.
Saving to Dropbox
To save one or more files to Dropbox in Yahoo! Mail, open the attachment and click the Save to Dropbox button. Save your file to the default Yahoo! Mail folder within Dropbox, or click More Options to create and name a new Dropbox folder for your file.
Sharing from Dropbox
To send a new attachment from Dropbox in Yahoo! Mail, select the dropdown next to the paperclip icon in Yahoo! Mail and select Share from Dropbox. The Dropbox Chooser will pop up so you can select the files you want to share then see them automatically appear as attachments within the email you’re composing.
And if you need to send a large file (>25MB), you can simply drag and drop the attachment into your email, but send it through Dropbox.
Integration with Dropbox is available globally in Yahoo! Mail for Web in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
In summary, Google is a great company that offers some excellent products and tools, and I will continue using the ones that do the best job for me. However, Google isn’t the only voice in many of the categories it competes in, and it good to know and healthy for the IT industry that there are some excellent alternatives available. I have both Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Microsoft Outlook email accounts, and they all have their strong points and shortcomings. Google Search is a superb Web search tool, but so is Bing. I’ll likewise continue using both, but I can think of several good reasons why a closer integration of Yahoo! and Bing makes logical sense for Apple.