Apple has long been rumored to be working on its own search engine that could challenge Google’s dominance on its devices. Yesterday, Bloomberg published a story on Apple’s possibilities of building its own search engine. The Cupertino-based company has several motives to pursue this project, such as controlling the core technologies of its products, enhancing the search user experience with more integration and privacy, and boosting its services revenue from search ads.
Apple already gets a commission from Google for using its search engine on its devices, which amounts to about $10-$12 billion annually. However, if Apple could launch its own search engine, it could potentially generate more revenue.
Apple has been developing its search technology for years, under the supervision of John Giannandrea, a former Google executive who now leads Apple’s machine learning and AI efforts. His team has created a next-generation search engine for Apple’s apps, dubbed “Pegasus”, which is already in use in some services including Apple News, Apple TV and others. The team is also looking to integrate Apple’s search features more deeply into iOS and macOS.
Apple already uses a web crawler called Applebot, which indexes websites for future search results. Apple also has an advertising technology team, which handles the search ad functions in the App Store, and has the expertise and personnel needed to start an advertising group for web search.
However, building a Google rival is not a simple task. Google has a strong position in search, with years of experience and data. Apple would have to persuade users to switch from Google, which may not be easy given Google’s popularity and quality. Apple would also have to face regulatory challenges and potential antitrust scrutiny. Therefore, Apple’s search engine may remain as a side project or a bargaining chip for now.