Apple Could Make Its Own Search Engine and End Its Reliance on Google
Apple has the potential to develop its own search engine and cut ties with Google, according to a report. The company already possesses most of the necessary components to go it alone, making the possibility of an Apple search engine feasible in the future.
Apple has benefited financially from using Google as its default search engine, with the search giant paying billions to secure its position as the top search option in iOS. However, while this arrangement has been lucrative for Apple, there is always the possibility that the company may decide to pursue its own search engine.
In a recent issue of Bloomberg’s “Power On” newsletter, Mark Gurman suggests that Apple could create its own search engine and generate significant revenue through advertising, similar to the potential offered by the Apple Watch. However, Gurman acknowledges that this scenario is unlikely due to the alignment of incentives in the existing Apple-Google deal, despite persistent rumors about Apple’s interest in developing its own web-based search engine.
A person familiar with the deal explained that the alignment of incentives was a significant factor in its creation, as Apple earns revenue by directing customers to Google, even while it could potentially promote alternative search engines.
Nonetheless, Apple has the potential to earn even more revenue by bringing search capabilities in-house. The company has been working on its own search technology, which primarily benefits on-device services rather than web search. This focus on in-house search technology could position Apple to offer a more integrated and private solution than Google.
There are several indications that Apple has been preparing for a future in search. The company has developed search engines for services such as the App Store and Maps, which already showcase the company’s ability to offer an integrated search experience. Additionally, Apple has been working on a next-generation search engine for apps, codenamed “Pegasus,” under the leadership of former Google executive John Giannandrea. This search engine is expected to provide more accurate results on platforms like the App Store.
Other elements that support the possibility of Apple developing its own search engine include Spotlight, which currently relies on Bing and Google for search results but could benefit from improvements through generative AI tools. Furthermore, Apple’s Applebot web crawler scours the internet for websites much like Microsoft and Google’s web crawlers, indicating Apple’s interest in indexing and organizing web content. The company also has an advertising technology team that could potentially create an advertising group specifically for web search.
While comments from Apple Senior Vice President of Services, Eddy Cue, stating that Google’s search is the best and that Apple has no incentive to develop its own search engine may appear genuine, they could also be seen as an effort to protect Google from potential government enforcement. If the US government determines that Google has violated antitrust laws, the existing billion-dollar search deal between Apple and Google could be jeopardized.
For now, Google remains Apple’s best option, but Apple may eventually determine that it can provide a superior alternative. With its own search engine, Apple could offer an integrated, private, and potentially more lucrative search experience for its users.