It’s well-known that Google is the default search engine for Apple’s Safari browser. However, while Google still dominates the search engine space, rumours have begun to circulate which suggest Apple has designs on launching their own search engine.
Siri, Spotlight and Maps
Of course, Apple does already have a search engine that supports Siri and Spotlight (Apple’s file search application). However, Apple signed a $15 billion agreement with Google in 2021. The agreement allows Google to be the default search engine on iOS.
It is estimated the deal accounted for between 15 percent and 20 percent of Apple’s annual profits (as set against 2020 figures). Any attempt to alter the status quo could therefore be costly for Apple.
That said, Apple has set a precedent for breaking with established practice. In 2012, Google Maps was abandoned in favour of Apple Maps.
If they wanted, Apple could launch a universal search engine to compete with Google, even if doing so would be a challenge.
What are the rumours surrounding the Apple search engine?
In August 2020, Apple announced plans to unveil a new search engine to rival Google.
Further details were scant, and the world was in the middle of a global pandemic at the time, so a lot of plans had to change.
Work on Apple’s operating systems did seem to suggest they were moving into the search engine space, as did some of their hiring and recruitment decisions. Beyond that, nothing came of the rumoured plans.
On May 28th 2022, renowned American tech blogger and author Robert Scoble re-ignited the rumours in a tweet believed to have been hinting at an imminent announcement.
Scoble is alleged to have said his info was partly based on rumour and partly conversations with industry contacts. He claimed “a variety of stuff” related to search would be announced at the 2022 WWDC (Worldwide Developers’ Conference) the following week.
The conference, which took place in early June 2022, was expected to focus on Apple’s new software across its range of tech products, making it the perfect platform for announcing significant changes.
In the end, Apple announced various product upgrades at the conference, but no new search engine.
What might an Apple search engine look like?
At this point, it’s only possible to guess what form an Apple search engine would take. However, it’s worth remembering that Apple likes to create and curate an ‘ecosystem’ for their products.
Adding a search engine to existing services would help consolidate the user experience between devices and give Apple options for the use (and monetization) of data from products and existing users.
However, it’s also possible the service won’t be a ‘traditional’ search engine at all and instead be directed at improving Siri, rather than returning answers to queries in a manner resembling existing search engines.
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