Samsung reportedly won't drop Google as its default search engine — for now

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra on a tea tray with its screen on and the home screen visible
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich)

What you need to know

  • Samsung is putting a pause on dropping Google as its default search engine on mobile devices.
  • Samsung cites concerns about how the market would handle the shift as well as its relationship with Google.
  • The Korean OEM would like to find ways of "diversifying" its phone software and finding ways of lessening its reliance on Google's software.

Google can probably breathe a heavy sigh of relief as it looks like the company won't lose a major partner in the mobile phone industry.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung is no longer considering dropping Google as its default search engine on mobile devices in favor of Microsoft's Bing. Currently, all of Samsung's phones, like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, come preinstalled with the Korean company's own browser but also Google Chrome. It also uses Google as its default search engine.

The WSJ states Samsung has decided to no longer internally discuss the possibility of a switch due to unperceived concerns about how the market would react. To a similar effect, Samsung was also unsure about how the switch would impact its relationship with Google moving forward.

Notably, this idea of ensuring Google remains the go-to search engine for phones is what prompted the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust investigation back in 2020. Google is estimated to have paid Apple anywhere from $8 to $12 billion dollars in 2020 to ensure it remains iOS' primary search engine choice. It's estimated that Google's payment to Samsung is substantial but not quite as much as Apple's.

However, Samsung hasn't entirely closed the curtain on the possibility of dropping Google in the future. The WSJ states Samsung's smartphone division is still concerned about its "heavy reliance" on Google's software. The company is still interested in "diversifying" its phone software and considering "new offerings."

During the time when Samsung's internal discussions were beginning, Google seemingly rushed forward with its AI endeavors in Search. With the threat of Bing's ChatGPT strength looming, Google quickly created a new team with the purpose of bringing a number of AI features to Search to give users a more personalized experience. And since Google I/O 2023, we've now learned about what some of those new experiences and features will look like.

Samsung did run into a problem with Microsoft Bing and its ChatGPT software weeks ago when an engineer accidentally submitted sensitive company source code to the AI chatbot. This prompted Samsung to issue a memo to all employees alerting them to the new ban on generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and Google's Bard on company devices — personal ones, too, if there are sensitive documents on them.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.