Is Apple’s next big thing search?

“Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask Network, AOL, DuckDuckGo, and even Dogpile,” Mark Reschke writes for TGAAP. “Do we really need another search engine, especially since no one has proven they can touch Google’s dominance?”

“According to comScore Google’s February 2014 share of search was a very steady 67.5%, with Microsoft’s Bing search engine light years behind, holding onto 18.4%,” Reschke writes. “Yahoo! was the only other search provider to reach over 10%. Why would Apple ever choose to enter such a mature market? The only way to obtain market share is to steal from a competitor — a space Google is laser focused on never relinquishing.”

“In order for Apple to succeed in the search engine business, Apple’s version must work differently — in other words Apple’s search would need to leapfrog the competition, becoming a disruptive force that changes user behavior en mass,” Reschke writes. “And that is probably the only thing holding Apple back from entering this lucrative market.”

Read more in the full article here.

23 Comments

    1. Love people that rip on others writing expressions, but never step out on their own and write their own stuff. Such guts.

      And no, Apple focuses on specific markets – called tech stuff -and if it fits their models and synergies they’ll go for it. I think search might be a place to play with everything they’ve already got in place.

  1. “Why would Apple ever choose to enter such a mature market?”

    Uhhhh — because they can do it way better than anyone else, perhaps? E.g. too many things over the years to list.

    I’d love to see an Apple search engine.
    Would also love to see a pro web editor.

    1. Two thumbs up for the web editor.

      Their very basic WYSIWYG editor back 15+ years ago was actually very clean, simple, and effective. It kept the code very clean and compact. I wish I could find an updated version that I could still run. It would still be a good basis for a more advanced, modern editor.

    2. Yeah cause the AppStore search is super awesome and not totally useless or powered by the equivalent of meta keyword tags like web search did early 90s /S!!!!

    1. As we covered here as recently as last week: Apple has never shown any adeptness or deep interest in search. Go play with the search engine on Apple’s website. You’ll have far better results searching Apple’s website with Google. Not something to brag about.

  2. Anybody remember, Sherlock? A desktop application that showed search results from multiple search engines (and other sites) in an easy to use, cohesive manner. Click a link that interests you, and you are taken directly too it without ever seeing the search engine (or the ads). Apple solved the search dilemma a long time ago. They just need to dust it off and re-introduce it.

    1. Agree. They could even give Siri a text interface for the desktop. Perhaps Scott Forestall, given his degree in AI, is secretly working on this as a consultant to Apple and Tim Cook.

    2. For a web version of this, look at search.com. I worked on the launch of this site back in the 90s (as part of CNET). This came out before Google (and Sherlock), and never really achieved success (as you can see in the Comscore rankings).

      The concept of this type of search sounds appealing, and I’m sure it is to many, but even though I worked on the site myself, I never used it (other than for work).

      The flaw is that when people search, most of the time, they want the best results from one source, not the best results as determined by one source compiling results from a bunch of search sites that may be good/bad at providing results. Either that, or they want a specialized search (like Wikipedia, IMDB, etc…).

      Sherlock was at even more of a disadvantage. It had no real logic behind it, but was instead allowing users to select the search engines, and then provided the top results for each one. It did all of this in an app, which was cool when it first came out and there were many more diverse search engines at the time (and most sucked). But now, it makes more sense to do a generic search with something like Google, and then a specialized search (see Glims) using something like IMDB or TV.com (another site I helped launched).

      The fact is Google is actually really good at providing search. Now before the anti-Google mob lynches me, this isn’t to say that people should be using it, that Google isn’t evil or anything else, just to say that when you type in word, the results page is pretty damn impressive (even it it steals your privacy and rapes your daughter or whatever).

      Apple (or anybody else) is going to have a very hard time coming up with a significantly better search engine as defined by the quality of the results. Google has hired the smartest people in the business, worked them overtime for many years to refine and refine and refine their product. They’ve also hired a TON of people to pound away at it and refine the database of results.

      Where Google is vulnerable is that there are issues of privacy, which Microsoft tried to advertise against, as well as issues of advertisements. The two go hand in hand.

      Apple could launch a search engine that would be like Maps… It would take some time, but eventually catch up, being better in some ways and worse in others, but with significant numbers of iOS and OS X users using it.

      The question would be what would Apple’s goal actually be to doing this other than to f with Google? If the goal would be to make money, then Apple would need advertising, and it’s hard to get the revenue per user that Google gets on advertising without being as obnoxious with the ads or intrusive in terms of privacy.

      Still, I believe Apple could leverage its iAd network for delivering less obnoxious and less intrusive ads while providing results that were in league with Google, or at least better than Bing (except for porn).

      While this may not result in a high margin business unit (Bing loses billions each year, mostly through marketing), Apple could make some money by not grossly overspending on marketing their search (they don’t have to) and by extending the ecosystem of iAds.

      In the end, they’d be providing a better user experience for their customers, improve the walled garden, and increase overall sales for iAds even outside of search.

      It’s also worth noting that they’d be able to improve Apple Maps if they launched Apple Search, because many more small businesses would be inclined to make sure their businesses were properly showing up in the results.

  3. Actually Apple’s next big thing would be the “iAvoid” that totally removes unscrupulous jouranalists and analysts and manipulators.

    Just think of it, real facts and information. Would be a big seller.

  4. My “short version” wish list – 1. Offer anonymous search 2. Offer search by date range 3. Offer image search – filter NOTHING 4. Present paragraph description of search result for every link/result 5. Have Siri present search results like it does with Wiki answers. 6. Make Apple search the default in Safari

  5. Sherlock was the best. It returned targeted and useful results. I miss it.

    Gee, what could ever leap frog Google search? How about: No payola-driven search results. No selling consumer data to advertisers. No creepy web browser ads that appear after recent searches. No NSA sharing. For many people, the simple fact it was NOT Google would itself be a huge plus. Apple could call it: search_Droid. Free. Sort of like Android. Only truly useful. I sense good karma with this.

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