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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Verizon to drop Google Search on Android? UPDATE: Not true!

UPDATE: Engadget is now reporting that they're been in contact with both Verizon and Microsoft and have confirmed that this is a false rumor. They say that Bing will be pre-loaded on Verizon's "multi-media phones," likely meaning cheaper, non-Droid line), but not on all future Android devices. They also say that once the Fascinate is updated to 2.2, that installation of the new Google Voice Search app will be allowed.

This rumor just hit the wire, straight from The Droid Guy. Apparently, two of their tipsters both corroborate a story that the Fascinate is just the beginning. According to the report, Verizon is set to drop Google Search entirely on future Android phones, to be replaced by Bing.

On the newly launched Samsung Fascinate, this is already the case. The Fascinate has Bing set as the default search engine in the browser, and has a Bing search widget. That can't be changed as Fascinate owners can't even install the Google Search app from the Market.

If true, this could really disenfranchise consumers. Android is generally known as the Google OS, and the average consumer will be expecting Google Search. Verizon has also been a huge partner of Google's for a while now, even standing on stage with them at major product announcements.

This story also brings up a number of questions about the future. For example, if and when Microsoft releases a Bing Maps app for Android, will Verizon pre-install that and block Google Maps? Until the rumor is confirmed, these are all just questions. But they don't bode well for the future of Android on Verizon.
UPDATE: This has apparently already happened as the Fascinate comes pre-loaded with Bing Maps. Google Maps can be downloaded from the Market, but it apparently doesn't run. This means users can only use Bing Maps, which lacks multi-touch and turn-by-turn Navigation.

I don't personally have any issues with Bing. Even if Verizon wants to set the default search engine to Bing, that's fine. But to prevent users from installing Google (or Yahoo, or whatever) from the Market is unacceptable to me. Most Android phones default to Google search, for example, but users can choose to install something else if they want.

I understand business partnerships, and that's fine. But forcing users to accept things they don't want is just bad business. I feel sorry for the average consumers who are buying a smartphone for the first time. They won't know that a better experience (or even their choice of experience) is being denied on a product that they paid for.

What the...? Um... well... I, uh... Grrr! That's possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. I officially ban Verizon because of stupidness. And I'm banning Bing too, by association.

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