“Rumors that Apple might be creating its own search engine started doing the rounds last fall, when webmasters started seeing web crawler visits from IP addresses starting with 17 – the IP address block owned entirely by Apple,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac. “Apple has now officially confirmed in a support document that it is operating its own web crawler called Applebot.”

Applebot is the web crawler for Apple, used by products including Siri and Spotlight Suggestions. It respects customary robots.txt rules and robots meta tags. It originates in the 17.0.0.0 net block. – Apple Inc. support document

“Is it likely that Apple is developing its own search engine, with plans to take on Google, Bing and Yahoo?” Lovejoy writes. “I think not, for two reasons.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is likely, as Lovejoy asserts, a tool for Apple to ensure that Siri and Spotlight are delivering the best results possible.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]