Apple has reportedly begun “stepping up” efforts to build its own search technology that would rival Google and Bing’s.
Just as it has done with iOS 14, allowing consumers to choose a default Mail and Web browser to appease antitrust regulators, Apple is now reportedly planning to join the lucrative search sector and offer consumers another choice.
The first sign was spotted in iOS 14, the latest version of the iPhone operating system, where Apple now shows its own search results and links when users search for content from their home screen. The capability is an important first step in developing a search engine, and will likely form part of a wider search product in the future.
We all know that Apple is notoriously secretive about future projects, but the changes in iOS 14 demonstrate the organization’s intentions: to build its own Google. Recent acquisitions add to this, including Apple poaching of Google’s former head of search, John Giannandrea, back in 2018. At the time, it was thought that Giannandrea would work exclusively on artificial intelligence projects and improving Siri, but he also brought with him years of experience running the world’s biggest search engine.
Fast forward to 2020 and job listings are popping up left, right, and center, with Apple looking for AI and search infrastructure experts to help “define and implement the architecture of Apple’s groundbreaking search technology”. The idea is that, if regulators block its lucrative partnership with Google, Apple can fall back on its own search engine, and monetize it through advertising partnerships. It could play out as it did in 2012 when Apple replaced Google Maps as the default mapping experience on iOS with its own Apple Maps, which was widely criticized and forced Apple to apologize.
Further telltale signs of a new Apple Search experience can be found dotted around the web on analytics dashboards – Apple’s web crawler, known as Applebot, has been showing up more prominently since the start of 2020, with crawl rates increasing as the firm gathers more information on businesses and products. Applebot was announced back in 2015 and was first designed to build Siri’s intelligence, but it now appears to be going one step further.
Would you be here for an Apple search engine? Let us know and check back soon for updates!