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Friday, 04 September 2020 18:01

Apple Appears to Be Working on Its Own Search Engine

Author:  [Source: This article was published in toolbox.com By Priya Jha]

Apple made a significant update to its web crawler Applebot, fueling speculation that the tech giant wants to swoop in and grab search market share from rival Google with its own web-based search engine. Let’s dig in a little bit deeper to find out how this strategic move will benefit the Cupertino-based tech behemoth. 

Apple is planning to dip its toes into the search engine market. Coywolf’s report hints that “there are several signs that Apple may be doing just that.” Speculations have also been triggered by recent updates to improve Siri and Spotlight search results, which indicate that Apple is doubling down on search. 

 

Apple’s Ambitious Project: A Search Engine

Since 2015, the Cupertino tech giant has been hard at work to blunt Google’s dominance in search. First came the web crawler Applebot —  used in products like Siri and Spotlight Suggestions, Apple confirmed. Applebot is pegged as a springboard that will enable Apple to rapidly expand its search.  Evidently, in July this year, Apple updated its Applebot support page, and since then, several developers have noticed more frequent Applebot crawls on their site. Michael James Field, a digital marketing consultant, tweeted about massive spikes in crawls.  

Then, in 2018, Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that Google paid Apple $9.5 billion in traffic acquisition costs (TAC) to be the default search engine on iOS devices. This accounted for 23% of Apple’s service group’s total revenue. In 2019, Google paid Apple $1.5 billion to remain the default iOS search option in the U.K alone. 

This massive deal has come under the radar of the U.K. regulators. Upon reviewing the agreement, The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority observed that this arrangement stifled competition in the search engine market populated with Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo. 

 

The report stated, “Given the impact of pre installations and defaults on mobile devices and Apple’s significant market share, it is our view that Apple’s existing arrangements with Google create a significant barrier to entry and expansion for rivals affecting competition between search engines on mobiles.”

Apple is also busy building an engineering team to drive search engine operations, the jobs page reveals.  

Search Engine: A Big Boost to Apple’s Business

If Apple launches its search engine, it might just diminish Google’s stranglehold in the search engine market and eat into its ad revenue, which amounted to $134.81 billion in 2019.  Jon Henshaw, founder and managing editor of Coywolf says, “A search engine from Apple will likely look and function slightly different from modern search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. That’s because Apple historically likes to do things differently, and their search engine will serve a different purpose than showing ads and data mining. an Apple search engine will likely function as a highly personalized data hub. It will be similar to Google Assistant on Android, but different since it (initially) won’t have ads, will be completely private, and have significantly deeper integrations with the OS.”

In August 2020, Apple introduced the AI/ML residency program to gather niche experts to build AI products and experiences. With this program, Apple aims to leverage AI and ML expertise to strengthen its search engine platform and beef up AI-driven search results based on users’ email, messages, photos, contacts, and events.

Apple search engine will be a big boost for iOS developers who could promote their apps in the search engine, adding value to Apple’s digital ad revenue. And if Apple does launch its own universal search engine, it would be more personalized, privacy-focused, and feature deeper integrations with the OS. 

 

[Source: This article was published in toolbox.com By Priya Jha - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

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