While it has been common knowledge that Yahoo wants to get back into the search game, many believe that Yahoo is just too far behind in order to get any inroads into search. However, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's chief executive (CEO), is looking to attack it head on by becoming Apple's default search provider in iOS, Re/code reports.
The big question is whether Yahoo has a good enough mobile search product at this time. They had the technology before, but a lot has changed within the search space in those years.
Yahoo's search execs have left the company, so they would be completely rebuilding. But Mayer has her passion – and roots – in search, from her time at Google.
Mayer has been putting company resources into building a new search product. She spearheaded two projects earlier this year, called Fast Break and Curveball, specifically for the purpose of bringing back organic and paid search back within Yahoo.
It isn't a stretch that Yahoo should look to Apple if they're serious about getting to search. When I reported about Yahoo moving into contextual search, I said their key could be becoming the default search engine for Apple products.
Currently, the default search engine for iOS is Google, however users can change the default search engine to Yahoo or Bing in the settings. Having Yahoo set as the default search engine could result in a huge increase in the number of searches, simply because many people don't bother changing the default search engine. However, you can imagine that Google would put out a strong campaign alerting users how to change to Google in the event Apple does make the switch.
There had been speculation that Bing could potentially replace Google as the default, as Apple's Siri voice search on both the iPad and the iPhone are powered by Bing. Additionally, the relationship between Apple and Google has soured over the years, as Apple has been removing default Google-powered apps from iOS, including YouTube and the much reported on Google Maps, which caused a backlash from Apple users.
Clearly, user experience wasn't high on Apple's agenda when they switched from Google Maps to Apple Maps, so the search product's user experience might not be as high a priority as people might think. And of course, Google's Android is in direct competition with iOS products.
Yahoo already has an existing working relationship with Apple. They partner with Apple for their default weather and stocks app in iOS, so they have a history of working together, which could work to Mayer's advantage. And she is far along in the process of preparing a pitch to Apple.
However, money talks, and Mayer could decide this is important enough for her to fight for in order to bring search back to Yahoo.
Google pays Apple about $1 billion a year, however the revenue they make is much higher. So on the table is a significant amount of revenue and the search market share that Mayer has been eyeing since she took over as CEO – and that search share took another hit last month, when it lost another 2 percent to Microsoft, according to comScore.
Will we see Apple switch its default search engine from Google to Yahoo? If Mayer can deliver a good enough product, she just might be able to pull it off. However, you have to expect to that Google will try everything in their power to ensure that they remain the default search engine, and not lose the spot to Yahoo.