Time was when Apple and Google were best of friends. They played together on the same block. When the iPhone was launched in 2007 Google became the default browser and the default mapping application. Natch. Then came Android and Steve Jobs realised that Google had become a competitor. Jobs was not amused and felt betrayed.
Five years on and there are fresh signs that the divorce has reached decree absolute. The new iPhoto for iPad app has abandoned Google maps in favour of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, a British not-for-profit that offers free mapping supported by a world-wide team of 400,000 volunteers.
Google is still the default search engine in Safari, although it is now possible to choose Yahoo! or Bing as alternatives. Yet only a geek would find this option buried in Settings; and even then the tendency would be to stick with Google. I am waiting for DuckDuckGo to appear in the list.
It’s rumoured, though, that Google has to pay Apple $1 billion a year to enjoy this top-search-engine billing in Safari. Even for cash-rich Apple this is not to be sneezed at; and I cannot see anyone else stumping up that amount of cash.
So for the time being we will still see Google popping up regularly. It is no secret, however, that Apple is distancing itself from what it now sees as its major competitor. That used to be Microsoft, but now Cupertino and Redmond are enjoying a cautious your-enemy-is-my-enemy type of relationship.