Last week, Bloomberg reported that Apple could might announce Baidu integration into iOS as early as next week at the company’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). In March, we reported that Apple was considering this idea.
Baidu, a Chinese search engine, is currently not integrated into iOS. Not even on Chinese destined iPhones. Currently the default option is Google’s search engine. However, Baidu still maintains its popularity over Google in China. Not many people remember that years ago, in order to hide its incompetence, Baidu was redirecting Google search to their search. People searching on Google would be redirected to Baidu with Google’s search results appearing as Baidu search results in the same sequence. Search results considered politically embarrassing for the evil Communist government of China were censored by Baidu.
Bloomberg’s report cited unnamed sources, and they could not specify when the announcement would happen. However, WWDC seems as good a time as any especially if Apple has plans to announce its own native mapping alternative to Google Maps.
It makes sense that the rumors of Apple integrating Baidu natively into iOS would finally come to fruition. That popularity advantage (if true) mentioned earlier is actually about a five time statistical advantage for Baidu over Google. According to Bloomberg during the second quarter of this year Baidu, held 78.5% of the Chinese search market share with Google holding a meager 16.6%. Not many noticed the fact that Google is highly restricted and almost blocked in many parts of China where internet is hazily censored. On the other hand, Baidu has the backing of Chinese government.