In context: Mobile consumers have come to expect a Samsung device will use Google as the default search engine, but that could change to Bing in the future. Thanks to Microsoft's addition of AI smarts to its search engine, Bing has become a lot more alluring to device makers, and that's sent Google into a "panic."

Back in March, Samsung shocked Google employees when the Korean giant said it was considering switching its devices' default search engine to Bing, writes the New York Times.

Samsung's contract with Google is worth around $3 billion annually, hence the "panic" in the company's ranks upon hearing that it could lose out to Microsoft.

Google remains the most popular search engine globally by a considerable margin. Statcounter places its market share at 93%, with second-place Bing just under 3%, so why would Samsung want to switch sides? Bing's new AI capabilities are likely the main reason.

Microsoft has been quick to jump on the generative AI revolution. In February, it announced a new iteration of its Bing search engine powered by a version of the same AI behind ChatGPT, introducing the ability to ask the chatbot queries and an AI-powered sidebar for creating text, images, and more. The AI-loaded Bing was later added to the Windows 11 taskbar.

Microsoft later said that thanks to the addition of the AI features, Bing had passed over 100 million daily active users for the first time in its history.

The shift in the industry landscape left a worried Google racing to launch its own ChatGPT-like technology. It showed off its version, Bard, earlier this year. Sadly, the AI chatbot gave a wrong answer in its first demo and has received mixed reviews since its release last month.

However, Google is reportedly building a new AI-powered search engine and wants to upgrade its existing one with artificial intelligence features, codenamed Magi, that offer a more personalized experience. It's also working on an image generator called GIFI; a language tutor called Tivoli Tutor that teaches students through AI conversations; and an chatbot extension called Searchalong that lets users ask questions while browsing the web.

"We're excited about bringing new AI-powered features to search, and will share more details soon," said Google spokeswoman Lara Levin. We'll likely find out more during Google I/O 2023.

Samsung could still stick with Google, especially as the search engine is getting its own AI features – the threat of switching to Bing might be used to negotiate a better deal. Still, the fact that it is even considering changing has shocked and worried Google; it also has a similar contract with Apple worth $20 billion that's up for renewal this year.