Apple starts displaying its own search results in iOS 14 as the iPhone maker steps up efforts to build a Google killer
- Apple has started displaying its own produced results and Siri links in iOS 14
- It comes as the DoJ is investigating a deal between Apple and Google on search
- The deal involves Google paying Apple to be the default search engine on iOS
- This could be stopped by the Department of Justice as part of an antitrust case
- Apple’s own web crawler AppleBot has also seen an increase in activity recently
Apple has started showing its own search results to iPhone users, in a move that reports claim is the latest in efforts to develop a possible Google Killer.
A barely noticed change in iOS 14 saw Apple show its own results or link directly to websites when users enter a search term on the home screen, the FT reports.
According to the report, showing Apple search results in iOS 14 is the latest in a series of moves that has fuelled rumours of a potential Apple search product.
Experts suggest the move could be linked to the US Department of Justice case against Google’s dominance of the search market, that could see its up to $12 billion deal to be the default search engine on iOS and Android take centre stage.
The DoJ could decide to block that move in future as part of an antitrust deal as Google is already the default search engine on Android-based devices.
Industry insiders claim showing its own search results in iOS 14 could be the start of an attack on Google – as the company also ramps up in-house search development.
The Silicon Valley firm poached John Giannandrea, Google’s head of search, from the tech giant in 2018 to work on AI capabilities and Siri – but he also brought with him years of running the world’s largest search engine, experts claim.
Apple have a ‘credible team that I think has the experience and the depth, if they wanted to, to build a more general search engine,’ according to Bill Coughran, Google’s former engineering head, speaking to the FT.
The company has also been seeking to expand the division, with job adverts for search engineers looking to ‘define and implement the architecture of Apple’s groundbreaking search technology’.
Apple is one of very few resources capable of taking on Google, with a market cap of over $2 trillion and $200 billion cash in hand, it can take the ‘long game’ that would be required to build a search engine that works well enough to compete.
Experts claim that any Apple search engine would be very focused on user privacy, something the company has sold itself on when compared to rivals such as Google.
The latest update to the iPhone operating system moves some Google searches aside in favour of Apple results – including the new ‘Today View’.
This shows an Apple-generated list of search suggestions rather than Google results and also include autocomplete-style results produced by Apple.
Apple has its own web crawler, that is used to scour the internet to develop search results – they are the cornerstone of any search engine including Google.
Named, AppleBot, experts claim it has been spotted scrawling websites ‘a ridiculous number of times’ in recent months, which is a sign Apple are gathering information.
Although it is also likely that the expansion of AppleBot is to improve Siri and Spotlight search results for various Apple systems.
The idea of an Apple search engine has been speculated on since 2015 when AppleBot was first confirmed by the company.
According to Sridhar Ramaswamy, co-founder of search firm Neeva, Apple is one of the only companies big enough to be able to search the whole of the internet.
He told the FT that smaller rivals such as DuckDuckGo and Neeva licence their index, used to build search results, from Microsoft’s Bing.
‘Apple’s position is very unique because it has the iPhone and iOS. It controls the default browser,” Ramaswamy told the FT, adding expanding to search ‘feels natural’ for Apple due to its ability to gather data and learn user behaviour at scale.
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