Apple Working On Own Search Engine

John Lister's picture

Apple is reportedly working on its own search engine and may ditch its reliance on Google. The Apple tool could be pitched on the idea of increased user privacy.

At the moment, Apple devices such as iPhones and software such as the Safari browser usually runs searches through Google by default. That's not just because Apple think it's the best search engine, but because Google pays Apple an annual fee reported to be in the region of $10 billion to be the default. (Source:

That payment may be under threat with regulators looking into claims that such deals perpetuate an unfair monopoly for Google in the search market. The Department of Justice has started legal action over these payments, along with Google's efforts to make its apps the default option on Android devices.

Google Search Chief On Board

Apple appears to be reasoning that if it isn't getting paid by Google, it might as well take advantage of its sheer size to develop its own search tools as competition.

Although Apple hasn't commented publicly on the topic, there's plenty of signs it's working on a search engine. It would explain the hiring in 2018 of Google's former head of search, who was announced at the time as coming to work on the Siri virtual assistant.

Meanwhile the latest iOS update means searches from the home screen (rather than a web browser) now show results and links apparently produced by Apple itself.

Applebot Getting Busier

There's also been a significant increase in sightings of "Applebot" in website visitor data. That's Apple's tool for analyzing web page content to build a database of pages.

Forbes's Barry Collins speculates Apple could promote its own search engine as being more privacy-focused than Google, possibly even promising not to keep track of a user's searches or which sites they visit. That might be easier for Apple given it makes most of its money from hardware and online services rather than selling targeted advertising. (Source:

If the search engine proves particularly effective or popular, it could also be made exclusive to Apple devices and act as a selling point in itself.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you see a problem with Google paying device manufacturers to use its search engine by default? Would you try out an Apple-made search engine if one existed? What's more important to you with search engines: useful results or user privacy?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Google is the king of search engines because their results are accurate. The company itself also has a ridiculous amount of resources (finance and employees) to make sure it stays relevant.

I think that once users start using a particular search engine, it's difficult to get them to move to another - sort of like starting out at a particular bank at a young age. Using this analogy, my bank would have to screw up really bad to make me want to move to another brand.

I certainly don't have that feeling with Google. In fact, when I'm assisting clients using remote support and their machines aren't using Google search by default, I get flustered easily. That's because most other search engines can't find what I'm looking for, are not relevant, or are full of top position advertisements.

I simply don't see how Apple is going to become more relevant than Google's search results. Prove me wrong!

OadbyPC's picture searches Google on your behalf, stripping out your identifying data so the results are almost identical to Google's. afaik it is private. I used to use DuckDuckGo but the search results weren't as good as Google's and I heard it had been sold to a company/corporation that was exploiting users.

Navy vet's picture

Google is far from perfect as far as censorship and results manipulation go. Still they are the best choice of the poor to bad choices that remain.

buzzallnight's picture

or first to be famous anyway
and it works most of the time.
Google's search engine has a very good understanding of the English language and spelling and automatically suggests spelling alternatives.
Google seems to know everything,
I have never gotten a no results response.

I don't like bing except for their maps are the best.

Duck duck who??????

Gurugabe's picture

Remember when Apple first tried their hand in maps and navigation not too long ago? This will be exactly like that screwup!