Apple once again hinted to launch Google Search alternative

Joanna Estrada
October 28, 2020

Industry sources, plus changes to how iOS 14 returns web search results, back up previous reports that Apple is working on its own universal search engine.

Apple is "stepping up efforts" to develop its own search technology as US antitrust authorities target a lucrative deal between Apple and Google that keeps Google's search engine the default option on Apple devices, according to a new paywalled Financial Times report.

According to FT, evidence for this is contained in Apple's latest operating system version - iOS 14 - in which queries typed on the home screen in the "Today View", accessed by swiping right, show search results generated by Apple rather than Google results.

According to the Financial Times, unnamed sources in the technology industry have said that Apple is planning to replace Google search, much as it did with introducing Apple Maps instead of Google Maps.

The development comes amid Google threatened by USA antitrust authorities looking to limit its hold on the industry.

Apple receives an estimated eight to 12 billion dollars per year in exchange for making Google the default search engine on its devices and services.

"[Apple's] growing in-house search capability gives it an alternative if regulators block its lucrative partnership with Google", the FT report says. It also cites experts as saying that Apple's web crawler Applebot is showing increased activity in recent weeks, which might mean it's scouring the web to build a bigger pile of data, which would be useful in building a search engine. Meanwhile, Apple is under fire for facilitating anticompetitive behavior by acquiescing to the deal and extracting more money with regular renegotiations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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