More evidence would suggest that Apple is working on its own search engine to help challenge Google’s dominance.
In many ways, the new report doesn’t add much to previous reports from August. When the news first broke, Coywolf founder Jon Henshaw noticed a web crawler called AppleBot crawling his website. At the same time, AppleInsider noticed changes in how iOS 14 handled search vs iOS 13.
Now the Financial Times says that multiple search experts are saying that Applebot is showing a steep increase in activity. The company also points to Apple’s poaching of John Giannandrea, Google’s head of search, two and a half years ago. He currently serves as Apple’s senior vice president of Machine Learning and AI Strategy, putting him in a strategic position to have a significant impact on the company’s efforts.
Other experts believe Apple has the technical expertise to build a successful search engine.
“They [Apple] have a credible team that I think has the experience and the depth, if they wanted to, to build a more general search engine,” said Bill Coughran, Google’s former engineering chief, according to FT.
The timing may ultimately work in Apple’s favor as the company’s deal with Google, to make its search engine the default on iOS, is one of the factors in the government’s antitrust lawsuit against Google.