9 Comments

Summary:

Verizon is firmly on the Android train with a full line of handsets, but it may be detouring that train through Redmond to replace Google search with Microsoft’s Bing on Android phones. Customers can’t change the default to other search providers, which won’t be popular.

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Verizon is firmly on the Android train with a full line of handsets, but it may be detouring that train through Redmond, Wash. to replace Google search with Microsoft’s Bing on future Android phones. Customers were quick to notice that Bing is the default search engine on Verizon’s Galaxy S Fascinate phone, and no Google search apps are installed on the phone. These apps don’t appear in the Android Market for downloading either, thus preventing Verizon customers from easily bypassing Bing search. One other major Google service missing from the Fascinate is Google Maps.

Fascinate owners can still run Google searches through the web browser, but the convenience of having a dedicated Google search widget/app is lost to Verizon’s customers. It appears Verizon is actively blocking the accessibility of some Google apps on the Fascinate, and it’s being reported that will be the case on all of Verizon’s Android handsets going forward.

Verizon signed a $500 million deal with Microsoft last year to put Bing on its handsets, which is likely behind this lack of Google love. The carrier has raised the ire of BlackBerry owners in the past by replacing Google search with Bing; with this deal, Microsoft may have found a chink in the Android armor on Google’s own platform. We’ve asked Verizon to comment on this story, and will provide updates once we’ve heard from them. These types of carrier-specific deals may be the wave of the future; perhaps we’ll hear more about them at our Mobilize conference this month.

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  1. Robert Welbourn Thursday, September 9, 2010

    I, for one, was looking at replacing my BlackBerry with some Android variant on the Verizon network next spring when current my contract is up. If VzW are going to play this stunt of blocking applications, I’m going to rethink my choice of carrier.

    Rob

  2. Bit of a moot point since a Bing search result click opens Android’s browser ( Chrome ) and that URL is resolved ( and logged ) at Google.

    Some mild brand name diluting, lost a tiny sliver of AdWord CpC but Google still has the data.

    The real story will be later in October post Window Phone 7 launch …think there’ll be a Google search widget available?

    1. Not always true. And, what say you to the fact Verizon blocks Google apps? I just bought two new Fascinates w/2 year contract w/data plans only to have to return them tomorrow. I just wanted to load Google Earth and it’s not accessible. I was hoping to use Verizon, but now I can’t see using them when they profess to provide unlimited Internet access but, in reality, have blocked sites. That kind of censorship is deemed very offensive in the USA. Too bad, because since AT&T blew it with me (10 years w/Cingular >> AT&T) by not honoring their promise to keep me on my data plan, I am moving to another carrier. If these wipes would just be straightforward with their customers and stop hiding their feats of unethical (and illegal) behavior I could live with some of their limitations. But when a company is lying to their customers about this kind of crap, one can only imagine what will happen down the road. Censorship of Yahoo! must be next. (I haven’t even tried getting to Yahoo! through Verizon yet. I bet it tells me it can’t find it, just like Google Earth.) http://m.google.com/earth = “The requested item could not be found.” Really, Verizon? Really?

  3. I was going to get the fascinate for sure until this deal breaker. Been with vzn for over ten years, but if all the good phones will be bing bound I have to go where they will give me choice. Contract up in 90 days and I’m looking at Sprint. The ill will from this move may cost vzn at lot more than 500mil.

  4. Why are people so interested in rooting and flashing roms? Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder, VzW.

  5. BTW JK you do great reporting.

  6. Android’s “openness” means little when it’s the carriers who decide how it’s going to be used. Just sayin’.

  7. Zacqary Adam Green Thursday, September 9, 2010

    On the bright side, this might completely obliterate the Google/Verizon net neutrality agreement.

  8. this is a perfect example of why it is in consumer interest to completely seperate phone sales from service contracts. i would like to see all phone sold unsubdized without any service contract or carrier branding.

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