Apple has reportedly begun “stepping up” efforts to develop its own search engine to overcome potential challenges brought about by an antitrust lawsuit, which targets Apple’s controversial relationship with Google, which pays Apple to be the default search engine.
Right now, Google pays Apple around $7 billion per year to be the default search engine on iOS devices, but it now appears as though Apple wants to move away from this deal and build its own infrastructure.
As of iOS 14, Apple has been offering its own results when users search for websites and apps from their home screen, which the FT says is the first step towards building an alternative search experience for users and to pull them away from Google.
They add that Apple is “notoriously secretive” about its ongoing projects, but adds that the new changes in iOS 14 suggest the company is working on a Google rival.
Add in the fact that Apple hired John Giannandrea, Google’s former head of search, two years ago to work on artificial intelligence and improve Siri, as well as regular adverts for search engineers, and it seems as though Apple has a clear plan to bolster its search and Siri offerings.
The FT goes on to say that AppleBot, which is the company’s web crawler, similar to those used by Google and Bing, has been ramping up activity, and it’s clear work is going on behind the scenes.
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