Samsung Fascinate to Get Google Search with Android 2.2 Update

After the Samsung Fascinate launched with Bing as the search engine, The Droid Guy said Verizon Wireless was shedding Google search in favor of Microsoft Bing on its Android-based smartphones. Verizon says it's not true.

The Android phone-following world was abuzz last week with the rumor that Verizon Wireless would be punting Google's search engine from all future Android phones in favor of Microsoft Bing.

However, a Verizon spokesperson told eWEEK this is not true. Google search will continue to be the default search engine on many Verizon phones in the future.

A Sept. 8 post on The Droid Guy sparked the rumor after Verizon launched the Samsung Fascinate, an Android 2.1-based device on which Google Web services are in short supply.

While the Fascinate does have Google's YouTube and Gmail widgets, it also comes preloaded with Bing search and a Bing Maps widget for location-based services.

This stands in stark contrast to Verizon's Droid line of smartphones, which come preloaded with all Google mobile applications, such as Google search, Google Maps and Google Talk.

Were the news as reported by The Droid Guy true it would be quite a coup for Microsoft, which already has a $500 million partnership with the No. 1 wireless carrier to put Bing on several Verizon handsets.

Microsoft's own statement on the matter emphasized that January 2009 arrangement but seemed to dispel the rumor, as a spokesperson told eWEEK: "Over the coming months, Verizon will announce the launch of new Android devices, which will be preloaded with Bing. The deal for Verizon Android devices is not exclusive."

Verizon Wireless spokesperson Brenda Raney would later explain to Phone Scoop that users will be able to download the official Android Google Search application when the Fascinate is updated to Android 2.2.

There is no public timetable for that upgrade. In the meantime, Raney suggested that Fascinate users who want to use Google search can set as their Android browser home page.

However, it seems Verizon really wants Fascinate users to use Bing. Even with the Android 2.2 update, Google will not replace Bing as the default search engine.

When the Search button is pressed, it will always launch Bing, even after Google Search is installed, Phone Scoop said.

This will certainly be food for thought for Google users considering buying the Fascinate.