Google has entered Windows Phone 7, but this time through a back door! While it commands the lion’s share of all searches, be it a desktop search (a 66% share for Google), or be it on smart phones – where it takes 95% of the search pie, Google was initially nowhere to be found on the much hyped WP7.
Nearly every browser on the desktop, iPhone, or Blackberry, allows the user to choose their search engine. However, Windows Phone 7 has tied up with Bing as its default search engine, which means that Bing would block any attempt to browse using any other search engine from the start screen.
To compete with Bing on WP7, Google has developed its own app – Google Search for Windows Phone 7, which it launched on November 11. As Google Mobile team programmers Jon Skeet and Nick Radicevic note in a blog post, this app “provides quick and convenient access to a rich set of search results.” Users can download the app for free for all Windows Phone 7 devices and languages from Windows Mobile Marketplace.
Google’s search app uses the phone’s GPS to localize searches, gives suggestions as you type, and keeps track of previous searches. The search results appear in a browser window, which allows access to images, local and news results as well, the features missing on Bing app for WP7.
Since Microsoft has all but made it a mandate for phone carriers that its Bing search engine be deeply integrated on Windows phone 7, it would be interesting to watch whether this move bails Microsoft out of its flagging smartphone market share, or users download Google’s Search app for WP7 and ding the Bing!