Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Apple Developing Web Search Technology?

Tim Bradshaw and Patrick McGee:

In a little-noticed change to the latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen.

That web search capability marks an important advance in Apple’s in-house development and could form the foundation of a fuller attack on Google, according to several people in the industry.

Dan Moren:

In some ways, it’s probably better to think of this as an extension of the Spotlight search technology that Apple’s been building out for the last fifteen years. It just happens to include search results for the web alongside results from your own data.


I pretty quickly turned off some of iOS 14’s new search features, because I found it annoying to have web search results pop up when I really just wanted to search for something on my iPad.

Nick Heer:

This seems to refer to Siri web suggestions that used to only display within the Safari address bar but are now in Spotlight. As far as I can tell, these are exactly the same suggestions but surfaced in a different place.


Bradshaw and McGee make no reference to having any sources at Apple, only quotes from a handful of people in adjacent businesses. Maybe they have background information from people who are familiar with Apple’s efforts, but nothing is cited in this article. The claim that Apple is, perhaps, working on a direct competitor to Google’s web search engine appears to be nothing more than speculation about what Apple could do from people who believe that it is something Apple is doing. That position seems to be predicated on regulatory pressures and recent hires[…]


3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Search is a core technology, and Apple is so much behind, even more so that with Maps when they had to brake away from Google's.
But it's not the only missing part of the puzzle.
Apple has to switch to their own logins, not someone else's email.
Covert everyone's Apple ID to something @icloud, to make sure people private data stays withing apple and not get indexed by Google and others.
Also, video hosting of something like Quicktime Online or Apple TV user's content for YouTube competitor.
Maybe even go back to their own routers (with VPN).
App Stores, iCloud Drive, Photos, Maps, iWork in the cloud, Podcast, Music, Messages/Facetime - all need more work to be search optimized, search in all those services is really weak.
Those things are necessary to make search complete.
Just crawling web a bit is not going to make a dent.

Google's clout far outweighs any superiority of its IP. Google's competitors, including Apple, should collaborate to create a non-profit 'search foundation'. The foundation would offer a search engine with total privacy and no advertising. That would eradicate Google Search, and much of Google's clout.

I could not agree with you more. Apple is just trying to pull its users more into their ecosystem and also venture into search advertising & get access to user data.

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