Apple is considering developing its own search engine, which could potentially replace Google on its devices, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports. This idea is related to the fact that Apple has always sought to control the core technologies that underpin its products. And search has long been an integral part of modern smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Apple now receives a portion of Google’s search advertising revenue, which is approximately $8 billion a year. If the company were to introduce its own search engine, it could retain a larger share of these revenues.
Apple’s interest in search technology is not new. For years, the company has been improving its search capabilities, even if it does not intend to compete directly with Google. Improving search technology not only improves offline search functions, but also serves as leverage in negotiations with Google. Although the latter dominates the search market, it still relies on Apple and its huge user base. The current agreement between the two tech giants incentivizes Apple to promote Google’s search, thereby increasing its revenue.
Apple’s internal search technology, if improved, could offer users a more private alternative to Google. The company has already developed its own search engines for platforms such as the App Store, Maps, Apple TV, and News. John Giannandrea, a former Google executive who now heads up Apple’s Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence department, leads a powerful search development team. This department is working on a next-generation search engine for Apple applications, codenamed Pegasus, which will soon be integrated into more Apple applications, including the App Store.
Spotlight, Apple’s tool for finding content across devices, showcases the company’s search efforts. In recent updates to iOS and macOS, Apple has incorporated web search results into Spotlight, directing users to relevant websites. This feature has been powered by Microsoft’s Bing or Google at various times. Siri also uses this technology to display web results.
Apple’s artificial intelligence and machine learning teams are exploring ways to further integrate search features into iOS and macOS. The company has also introduced Applebot, a web crawler similar to Google and Microsoft designed to index websites for Siri and Spotlight results. In addition, Apple has an advertising technology team that could be useful if the company decides to expand its search ambitions.
Although Apple’s current search technology is not as advanced as Google’s, it lays the foundation for a potential full-fledged search engine in the future. Apple’s AI team is recruiting engineers specializing in search technologies, and the company’s acquisition of Laserlike, an AI-based search engine, further demonstrates its interest in this area.
Interestingly, Microsoft once offered to sell Bing to Apple, making it the default search engine on Apple devices. However, Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of services, rejected this proposal. Cue has publicly stated that Google’s search engine is superior, but this position may have more to do with protecting Google from potential antitrust violations. If it is found that Google has violated antitrust laws, its agreement with Apple may be jeopardized, which would lead to significant financial losses for Apple.
In conclusion, while Google remains the dominant player, Apple’s work in the field of Internet search shows that the tech giant is preparing for possible future changes. Although an Apple search engine may not appear immediately, the possibility should not be discarded.