Apple developing search engine to rival Google: FT

US antitrust probe speeds up Apple's urgency to develop own search engine


Apple is developing its own search engine that will replace Google in all of its popular products, according to a report by the Financial Times. The report says the company is stepping up its efforts to develop its own search technology as US antitrust authorities threaten multibillion-dollar payments that Google makes to secure prime placement of its engine on the iPhone.

Currently, Google pays Apple around $10 billion per year to be the default search engine on the iPhone and iPad. The amount reportedly accounts for 20 per cent of Apple’s Services revenue. The year is about to come to an end and so is the deal, which might not be reportedly extended. 

The iPhone maker has apparently already started testing the search engine in the latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, where Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen. It could form the foundation of a fuller attack on Google.

Interestingly, more than two years ago, Apple had poached Google’s head of search, John Giannandrea, who had then eight years of experience running the world’s most popular search engine.

While experts opine that creating a Google search engine rival is an uphill task, it is not impossible. Apple comes with the huge advantage of cash reserve and unique position of having the control over the hardware—the iPhone and iOS. It is possible to control the default browser, if it wishes. 

While Apple was always invested in its in-house research capabilities, the recent anti-trust law suit against Google in the US added the urgency to develop an independent search engine, the report said. Search marketing experts also point to increased activity from Applebot, the iPhone maker’s once-obscure web crawler, which is used to build the vast database of online material that forms the foundation of any search engine.

As of now, it is unclear on how Apple plans to bring its own search engine to life. Some reports claim that it will be a competitor to Google and will have its own website and app for phones. Whereas, other reports state that it will just be a feature to enhance spotlight on iOS, iPadOS and macOS devices.


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