Apple is making strides in developing its own search engine, not only for the App Store but also across its various services. This endeavor, as reported by Bloomberg columnist Mark Gurman, could potentially challenge Google’s dominance in the search engine realm on Apple devices.
Spotlight Service and Web Search Integration
Apple’s journey in the realm of search began with its Spotlight service, designed to help users find files across their devices. Over time, Apple incorporated web search results into Spotlight, directing users to relevant websites. Initially, these results were sourced from Microsoft’s Bing and later from Alphabet’s Google. Siri also leverages this technology to provide internet search results.
Pegasus: Apple’s Internal Search Engine
Under the leadership of former Google executive John Giannandrea, a dedicated team at Apple is working on deepening the integration of its internal search engine, codenamed Pegasus, within iOS and macOS. The incorporation of generative artificial intelligence is being considered to enhance its capabilities. Additionally, Apple launched Business Connect, a direct competitor to Google Maps, enabling businesses to add location and hours details to Apple Maps at no cost.
While Apple’s search tools, including Spotlight and the App Store’s search engine, may not match the robustness of Google’s, they offer a unique advantage – the ability to serve ads not only within the App Store but also in other Apple apps such as News and Weather. This positions Apple favorably to venture into the search engine space, potentially replacing Google on its devices.
The successful rollout of Apple’s search engine could create a substantial revenue stream, potentially rivaling the Apple Watch’s earnings. Achieving this would involve selling advertising and search space at rates similar to Google’s. Currently, Apple earns a portion of Google’s search advertising revenue, amounting to approximately $8 billion annually. Even if Apple can’t surpass Google, it could still generate significant revenue, especially by enhancing its offline search capabilities, a valuable bargaining chip in negotiations with Google over royalties.
Uncertainty Surrounding Apple’s Decision
While the prospect of Apple developing its own search engine is intriguing, the company’s Senior Vice President of Software and Services, Eddie Cue, has previously expressed contentment with Google’s search capabilities. Furthermore, reports suggest that Apple declined an offer to purchase Bing in 2020. The future of Apple’s involvement in the search engine arena remains uncertain.
NIXSolutions concludes that Apple’s exploration of its own search engine presents both opportunities and challenges. Its potential to reshape the search landscape on its devices is noteworthy, but the path ahead is uncertain, and Apple’s decisions in this regard will be closely watched in the tech industry.