It is without any doubt that Google is light years ahead in terms of search compared to its closest rivals.
Interesting news today that on a whim, Apple has switched siri search to Google from Microsoft's Bing.
This raises some interesting questions and implications:
1) Does the voice user experience rank higher than the usefulness of the search results? If so, we could see commercial deals between tech companies (search engines, voice assistants, handset manufacturers etc etc) dictate what search results users get instead of users using their search engine of choice based on how useful they find that particular search engine.
2) Could voice assistants be the trojan horse for building out another search engine? Most voice based interactions have a Q&A or instruction based context and intent. By definition the voice assistant therefore knows a lot more about the user. Who you are, what you're feeling, do you sound stressed, where you're located, how fast you're moving etc. This richer set of information, rather than text based search query allows the voice search to drive more meaningful results, and it only passes to Google (or similar) the text query if all else fails, only when context doesn't resolve the user's query. Over time, could voice assistants build their own underlying search engines rather than relying on 3rd parties?
3) How will voice search monetise itself? Today Google pays Siri good money. Will this continue or will Siri need to monetise itself in different ways? How will ad-revenue actually work? Or would users continue to pay for Siri implicitly by being on the iOS/Apple ecosystem.
Overall, i'd say we're going to be in this confusing state until things work themselves out and a new model emerges.
“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,”