Apple is reportedly developing a search engine that could become a rival for Google’s signature offering. The Financial Times notes the firm introduced a search tool with its latest mobile operating system update. But the company has not commented on the program or detailed how it operates.
The iPhone manufacturer’s relationship with its fellow Silicon Valley giant has recently faced scrutiny from U.S. regulators.
Apple Search Engine Ambitions
Because it plays its cards close to the vest, it is unclear when Apple started developing a search tool. But there is evidence to suggest its working on its version of Google.
In 2015, the corporation confirmed the existence of AppleBot, a web crawler it uses to optimize its digital assistant and file indexing tools. Before that declaration, tech industry insiders assumed the firm utilized an existing service to perform those web browsing functions. Suganthan Mohanadasan, a digital marketing consultant, told FT AppleBot has considerably ramped up its activity recently.
In addition, the iPhone manufacturer hired veteran software engineer John Giannandrea away from Google in 2018. Apple seemingly took him on board to make Siri better because he had extensive artificial intelligence (AI) development experience. But he also spent 8 years leading Google’s search division and founded a data management startup before joining the company.
If Apple is building a search tool from the ground up, Giannandrea has the expertise to realize the project.
While the status of the initiative is unknown, the firm’s new iOS feature is promising. By swiping right, Apple product users can access the feature from the “Today View.” It displays autocomplete suggestions, Siri Knowledge listings, topic-related article links, email keyword mentions, and in-app suggestions.
Because of those qualities, it is a welcome addition to the iOS suite of tools.
How Apple Could Benefit From Developing Its Own Google
Although Apple does not need its own search engine, establishing one could provide several benefits.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and 11 states filed suit against Google on antitrust grounds. The authorities alleged the corporation uses its power and influence to undercut rivals to its core business. The regulatory complaint mentioned the firm’s practice of paying electronic device makers to make its offering their default search engine as an example of its anti-competitive practices.
In response, Google refuted the regulators’ claims and said its promotional activities are industry standard.
If the iPhone producer cuts ties with its old partner, it could distance itself from that case.
Then again, The House of Representative’s Judiciary Subcommittee recently slammed Apple for engaging in its own monopolistic activities. By making a push into the search field, it could risk attracting more regulatory attention. But the firm would have a good argument to diffuse government scrutiny in that case.
Since Apple’s new feature is accessible through its device, it might suggest that the search engine is a build-out of its existing ecosystem. The company has already let users look up information online via Siri and its Safari web browser. It could credibly assert the new program is a refinement and logical extension of its existing services.
With an estimated 1 billion iPhones currently active, it could also argue that its offering is a real rival to Google and Bing. As the corporation has nearly $200 billion in cash on hand, it could create something truly groundbreaking within the space.