Changes in Spotlight Search on iOS and iPadOS 14 beta, a significant update to its Applebot support page, and an increase in crawling from AppleBot signify that Apple may be launching a search engine soon, Jon Henshaw writes for for Coywolf.
It’s common knowledge that Google pays billions of dollars annually to Apple to remain the default search engine on Safari for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, where the world’s best customers – those with disposable income and the proven will to spend it – reside. But, that arrangement may be coming to an end soon as the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority takes aim at the deal.
Regulatory pressure, a fractious relationship with privacy-trampling Google, and the growth of Apple’s capabilities are presenting an opportunity for Apple to create and launch a search engine. There are several signs right now that indicate Apple may be doing just that.
Apple is investing heavily in search, as shown in their
job postings for search engineers. The job listings reveal they incorporate AI, ML, NLP, and more into all of their services and apps…
It’s not clear if Apple uses Bing anymore, as results are labeled only as Siri Suggestions. It is clear that Apple has started to return search results within Spotlight Search and is completely bypassing Google altogether…
In July 2020, Apple published a significant update to its About Applebot support page. The additions are very similar to the details Google provides to webmasters and SEOs…
At this point, everything is based on observation and conjecture. They may never release a search engine. It’s also possible that iOS, iPadOS, and macOS users will be using it and not even be aware of it. It could be so tightly integrated into the operating system and native apps that alerts and Spotlight Searches slowly steal away queries that would have otherwise been made on Google.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote over six years ago, referring to Steve Jobs’ vow to go nuclear on Google over the stolen product of Android, about the idea that Apple should buy DuckDuckGo:
“If you really want to wage thermonuclear war, wage thermonuclear war.”
Plus, [DuckDuckGo] has a stupid name that just begs to be changed to “Apple Search.” It’s perfect for Apple! — MacDailyNews, June 19, 2015
If you haven’t already, give DuckDuckGo a try today!
Apple allows users to easily switch to the privacy-respecting DuckDuckGo search engine in Safari:
1. Click Safari in the top menu bar.
2. Select Preferences.
3. Click on Search.
4. Select DuckDuckGo.
1. Open Settings.
2. Navigate and tap on Safari.
3. Tap on Search Engine.
4. Select DuckDuckGo.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]