Apple’s journey to become a dominant player in the search engine industry is gaining momentum as it challenges Google’s supremacy. The tech giant’s advancements in its internal search capabilities and its development of the Pegasus search engine are positioning Apple as a formidable rival.
Apple recognizes the importance of search technology in today’s information-driven world and is determined to provide a user-centric and seamless search experience. With the recent release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple introduced improvements to its Spotlight search feature, allowing users to find web results, app details, and documents more efficiently. This effort is led by John Giannandrea, a former Google executive who heads Apple’s machine learning and AI division. Under his leadership, Apple’s search team has been working tirelessly on developing Pegasus, a next-generation search engine for Apple applications. Pegasus has already been integrated into certain Apple applications and is expected to be expanded to the App Store and other platforms.
Spotlight is a prime example of Apple’s progress in search engine technology. With the incorporation of web search results, users are seamlessly directed to websites that can provide answers to their queries. Microsoft’s Bing or Google’s technology is utilized based on specific time intervals, and Siri also generates web results using this technology.
Apple’s advertising technology division further bolsters its search aspirations. This division manages search ad operations in the App Store, delivers ads to Apple News and other apps, and facilitates advertising deals for streaming sports. This team’s expertise and resources lay a solid foundation for a potential web search advertising group.
Apple has long been contemplating the creation of its own robust search engine to challenge Google’s dominance. This is driven by the need for Apple to control core technologies essential to its products. Currently, Apple receives a significant portion of Google’s search ad revenue, amounting to around $8 billion annually. The potential revenue from a proprietary search engine could be comparable to the earnings from the Apple Watch. While it may not fully rival Google, the prospect of internal search engine results is immense.
Apple’s pursuit of search technology is not necessarily a direct competition with Google. Instead, it focuses on advancing non-web search capabilities and leveraging pricing negotiations with Google. Despite Google’s dominance, it relies on Apple’s vast user base and continuously incentivizes Apple to steer its users towards Google. However, Apple’s capabilities in Spotlight, app search, and its advertising business equip it with the necessary components to introduce its own comprehensive search engine.
Apple’s advantage lies in its investment in AI and machine learning. The company’s machine learning division actively recruits specialized engineers in search technology. Moreover, acquisitions like Laserlike in 2019, founded by former Google employees, further strengthen Apple’s foundation for a prospective search engine.
While Apple’s executives have acknowledged the company’s shortcomings in search technology, they also emphasize the important role that Google plays in the functionality of Apple’s products. Google’s reputation as a leading search engine aligns with global customer expectations, as emphasized by Apple executive Eddy Cue.
Ultimately, Apple may introduce a better option to challenge Google’s dominance in search. With its extensive ecosystem, including the App Store, Apple is already a formidable rival. The missing piece is Apple’s own search engine, which may be closer to launch than anticipated.