Apple has been known to generate a substantial amount of revenue by making Google the default search engine for its Safari browser. This strategic partnership has been a consistent source of income for Apple, as Google pays a significant sum to maintain its position as the default search engine. However, there’s growing speculation about Apple’s potential shift towards developing its own engine.
The In-House Strategy For the Search Engine
Apple has a longstanding commitment to in-house development, crafting both hardware and software for its products. The idea of creating its own search engine aligns with this strategy, providing an opportunity to reduce dependency on external contracts. By making its own engine the default in Safari, Apple could potentially leverage its advertising space, which currently benefits Google, to create a new revenue stream.
While Apple may not necessarily rival Google’s search capabilities, there are advantages to developing its own search engine, especially if it can generate advertising revenue. However, industry experts like Garman consider the likelihood of Apple making this switch as “very unlikely.” Nonetheless, there are alternative ways Apple could use its engine technology effectively.
Expanding Search Engine Capabilities
Even if Apple doesn’t make its own engine the default for Safari, it could still enhance off-web search capabilities, improve non-web search functions, or use it as a bargaining chip in contract negotiations. Apple has already developed search engines for various apps and features, including the App Store, Maps, Apple TV, News, and Spotlight.
John Gianandrea, a former Google executive now overseeing machine learning and AI development at Apple, is spearheading the development of Apple’s search engine, codenamed “Pegasus.” Pegasus aims to provide more accurate search results across different applications. It’s already integrated into some Apple apps, with plans for further integration, including the App Store.
Pegasus is particularly beneficial for the in-device search function Spotlight, available on iOS and macOS. Spotlight locates data matching user-entered keywords on the device or the internet. Deep integration of the engine into iOS and macOS, coupled with generative AI tools, could further enhance Apple’s ecosystem.
Apple’s Web Crawling and Advertising Tech
Apple has been quietly working on its web crawler called Applebot, which indexes websites and search results similar to Google’s crawlers. It’s primarily used for Siri and Spotlight to find relevant websites. Additionally, Apple has its advertising technology team, which already handles search advertising features in the App Store and distributes ads in various apps.
In essence, Apple possesses the necessary technology to develop its own search engine, as it has demonstrated through its web crawling and advertising capabilities. However, it’s important to note that Pegasus, while promising, has limitations compared to Google Search. The challenge lies in bridging this gap and offering a competitive alternative.
In conclusion, Apple’s potential venture into developing its own engine presents both opportunities and challenges. While it may be unlikely for Apple to dethrone Google in the engine market, its foray into this space could lead to enhanced search capabilities within its ecosystem and reduce reliance on external partnerships. With Pegasus and its existing technology infrastructure, Apple is poised to make strides in the search engine arena, further solidifying its commitment to in-house innovation. The tech world will be watching closely to see how Apple’s engine journey unfolds.