Reports indicate Apple may be working on its own search engine, a move that would have far-reaching repercussions.
Apple and Google have a long-running deal, whereby Google pays Apple billions to be the default search engine on iOS devices. Apple has alternately used Bing and Google to power Siri’s search features over the years. With iOS and iPadOS 14, however, Siri will bypass Google search results page, instead taking the user directly to the site. This would seem to indicate Apple is beginning to distance itself from third-part search engines
In addition, there has been a noticeable uptick in Apple job postings calling for search engineers. Coywolf founder Jon Henshaw has noticed Apple’s web crawler, Applebot, has been crawling his website daily. Apple has also updated its information on Applebot.
There’s a number of things Apple could gain by unveiling its own search engine. First and foremost, it would give Apple the ability to deliver on its promise to protect user privacy. No matter how much Apple may work to do that on users’ devices or its own services, when they use Google or Bing, they give up much of their privacy to those companies and their partners. Apple could build a search engine that features the same industry-leading privacy as their other products.
In addition, as Henshaw points out, Apple could customize the experience in a typical Apple way, providing something unique that offers an entirely new take on search. Whatever Apple is working on, it may well upend the search industry as we know it.