Last year, Microsoft became the default search provider for Siri in the iOS7. This year with the release of iOS8 and the OSX Yosemite, Microsoft Bing becomes the default search provider for the new Spotlight feature. During WWDC keynote demo, Apple demoed this feature as well. Spotlight searches desktop but also provides web search suggestions from Microsoft Bing.
To improve the search experience, Apple shares the search data to Microsoft. This information was included in the latest Yosemite documentation.
When you have Spotlight Suggestions enabled in Safari, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple. If you have Location Services on your Mac turned on, when you make a search query to Safari with Spotlight Suggestions enabled the approximate location of your Mac at that time will be sent to Apple. Location, search queries, and usage information sent to Apple will be used by Apple only to make Spotlight Suggestions more relevant and to improve other Apple products and services. By using Spotlight Suggestions in Safari, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information to make Spotlight Suggestions more relevant and to test and improve other Apple products and services.
There were some reports yesterday complaining about privacy in this new search experience and Apple provided the following statement,
We are absolutely committed to protecting our users’ privacy and have built privacy right into our products. For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn’t retain IP addresses from users’ devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn’t use a persistent identifier, so a user’s search history can’t be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.
We also worked closely with Microsoft to protect our users’ privacy. Apple forwards only commonly searched terms and only city-level location information to Bing. Microsoft does not store search queries or receive users’ IP addresses.