Apple steps up efforts to develop alternative to Google search monopoly

Apple has increased its efforts to develop its own search technology as competition authorities in the U.S. and Europe question its deal with Google which pays Apple billions of dollars a year to make its search engine the default option on Apple devices.

Apple Park in Cupertino, California
Apple Park in Cupertino, California

Tim Bradshaw and Patrick McGee for Financial Times:

In a little-noticed change to the latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen.

That web search capability marks an important advance in Apple’s in-house development and could form the foundation of a fuller attack on Google, according to several people in the industry.

The Silicon Valley company is notoriously secretive about its internal projects, but the move adds to growing evidence that it is working to build a rival to Google’s search engine.

Two and a half years ago, Apple poached Google’s head of search, John Giannandrea. The hire was ostensibly to boost its artificial intelligence capabilities and its Siri virtual assistant, but also brought eight years of experience running the world’s most popular search engine.

Sam Shead for CNBC:

An in-house search offering from Apple would provide the company with an alternative to Google search should authorities decide to block the partnership.

The DOJ case has added urgency to Apple’s search efforts, according to the FT, which cites search marketing experts who say the company’s “Applebot” — a web crawler used to build a database of online material — has become more active recently.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Apple did it with Maps, they could do it with search (and likely start out better than they started in Maps, which wouldn’t be difficult).

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.


  1. Yes, Apple should buy DuckDuckGo. However, the owners of DuckDuckGo know that, and consequently the price might be astronomical. The bean counters (and stockholders that are in it ONLY for the money) would go nuts if Apple pays billions for DuckDuckGo and Apple forgoes an annual income reportedly between six and 12 billion a year.

    While my default search engine is DuckDuckGo, unfortunately, Google Search is the deepest search engine out there. I sometimes have to resort to Google Search when DuckDuckGo returns a null response or only irrelevant responses. Yes, resorting to Google Search probably happens less than 5% of the time, but it’s still too often for my likes. DuckDuckGo does need to step up its game.

    I just hope that whatever way Apple goes for its search engine it starts out calling it a beta release even if they buy DuckDuckGo and rename it Apple Search. No matter how good it is w people will find errors or missed data/sites with it. Apple can avoid all that nonsense if they call it a beta release for a year of more.

    Maps started out as barely OK. It was not good, but it was nowhere near as bad as some reports claimed it to have been. Apple could have avoided all the negativity if they had just released it as beta

    1. Yes, entertainment wasteful spending without a solid ROI could be better utilized investing in search and buying DuckDuckGo. Also, imagine the advertising revenue streams for Apple if they go that route could be done much more responsibly.

      1. What revenue stream? Google Ads rely on harvesting user data and Apple won’t do that. Without user history and location, ads could not be targeted, so the only advertising would be by national companies.

  2. google has the superior algorithm. and until someone can best it with enough computer power then they will remain on the top. people forget google makes its own server processors too.. which are tailored to their needs.

  3. By far the best alternative to Google search or DuckDuckGo that I’ve found is (used to be Instead of pages and pages of irrelevant stuff you get with both, always gets the right result at the top of the page – every time. Try it, you won’t use anything else after. Completely private.

  4. “…Apple should buy DuckDuckGo” and fix the depth of its search function. I really tried to like DDG but like the Brave browser it just doesn’t cut it as a stand alone alternative. it is a supplement but not an alternative to Google.

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