It’s been rumored for some time that Apple planned to make its own search engine (Apple Search, perhaps?) to compete with Google’s search engine. A new report from the Financial Times (a subscription is required to read the entire article) claims that former Apple engineers say that Apple still holds a grudge over how Android allegedly copied iOS, and is steadily working to remove Google from the iPhone (and, it would seem, all Apple devices).
A December 2022 report from The Information said Apple is indeed working on its own search engine, but that Apple’s search technology faces a setback amid loss of talent to Google. In 2018, Apple sought to bolster development of a web search engine by buying machine learning startup Laserlike, which was founded by three former Google search engineers. The company’s technology recommended websites based on a user’s interests and browsing history. Now, Laserlike’s founders have reportedly returned to Google.
MacRumors reported last December that Apple’s search team is believed to contain at least 200 employees and powers the technology behind Spotlight, Siri Suggestions, and answers provided by Siri. However, the tech giant is still at least four years away from launching a replacement to Google search, according to The Information.
These aren’t the only rumors of “Apple Search” being developed. In June 2022, AR evangelist Robert Scoble tweeted that Apple was working on its own search engine.
He told TechRadar that this information is based partly on conversations with sources and partly on deduction. Scoble said the search engine would be announced in January 2023 and would be “expensive product launch of all time.”
Of course that didn’t happen, but since Apple likes to (in the late Steve Jobs’ words) “make the whole widget,” it does make sense.
After all, in May 2015, Apple confirmed the existence of its Applebot web crawler (which isn’t to be confused with either Ultron or Spider-man). A Web crawler is an Internet bot that browses the Web in a methodical, automated manner, typically for the purpose of Web indexing. Apple says that Applebot is used by Siri, its voice activated digital assistant, Spotlight suggestions, and its Safari search engine.