Could Apple Be Working on a Web Search Engine for Siri?

Using iPhone to Ask Siri a Question Credit: ms_pics_and_more / Shutterstock
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Apple continually is making improvements to Siri with expanded support for languages and tighter integration into Apple Maps. According to a new rumor, Apple may be working on a universal web-based search engine that’ll tie directly into Siri.

Siri, and Spotlight searches, already use a search engine for queries that require more than a simple answer. Siri responds to these complex requests with “I found this on the web” and lists a handful of website results that open in Safari. Google drives these search results under an agreement the search giant forged with Apple. Under this agreement, Google pays Apple billions to be the default search engine for Safari until a user selects another provider in the preferences.

According to a report by Jon Henshaw at Coywolf, Apple may be looking to distance itself from Google and other search engines as it works on its own back-end search engine.

Henshaw claims Apple is bypassing Google and other search engines, noting that search results now are labeled as “Siri Suggestions.” Henshaw also claims Apple has updated its Applebot web crawler and ramped up the number of scans the crawler is conducting.

Why a Search Engine?

Apple’s interest in developing a search engine does make sense. This move would separate Apple from Google and weaken Google’s monopoly over the search market. It also would allow Apple to control both the hardware and the software for its search platform, optimizing them to work together. It would even benefit developers whose apps could be promoted in web search results and the App Store.

Not a Guarantee

This is still gossip and not a guarantee that Apple is actually working on a web search engine. Even if Apple did release a search engine, users may not even notice any difference, says Henshaw.

“At this point, everything is based on observation and conjecture. They may never release a search engine. It’s also possible that iOS, iPadOS, and macOS users will be using it and not even be aware of it,” writes Henshaw. “It could be so tightly integrated into the operating system and native apps that alerts and Spotlight Searches slowly steal away queries that would have otherwise been made on Google.”

Jon Henshaw, founder and Managing Editor of Coywolf

Apple would potentially lose the billions of dollars per year that Google pays for its prominent position on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices.

With growing sales and a $2T market cap, Apple doesn’t exactly need this extra cash, especially if it comes with additional scrutiny by antitrust regulators who already are investigating Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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