Apple is reportedly “tinkering” with a next-generation search engine with the long-term ambition of replacing Google as the default option on Safari. The company’s efforts and rationale for this move are detailed in a new report by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.
In today’s edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman states that Apple contemplated the idea of building its own search engine “for years” as part of the company’s quest to develop more in-house core technologies. The company also hopes to generate more income from search ads, which would hopefully bring in more revenue than its current cut from Google’s $8 billion a year ad business.
Apple already deployed a custom non-web search engine that powers many of the company’s services including the App Store, TV, Siri, and Spotlight. The company’s search team, led by SVP of Machine Learning and AI Strategy John Giannandrea, developed a more advanced and accurate search engine dubbed “Pegasus” that is already powering some default apps and services. Gurman adds that the company will soon expand Pegasus to more apps and services in the future, including the App Store.
Over the past few years, [Giannandrea’s] group developed a next-generation search engine for Apple’s apps codenamed “Pegasus.” That technology, which more accurately surfaces results, is already available in some Apple apps, but will soon be coming to more, including the App Store itself.
Mark Gurman for Bloomberg
Giannandrea’s search team is reportedly exploring more ways of integrating the company’s custom engine into more aspects of iOS and macOS, adds Gurman. Another piece in the puzzle is Applebot, a custom-designed web crawler used to index the internet for search results. Applebot and Pegaus now power web search results on Siri and Spotlight, which used to rely on Microsoft’s Bing and Google in the past.
A hypothetical “Apple Search” service remains quite a long way off, adds Gurman, but it’s now a matter of when and not if the company plans to replace Google and bolster one more crucial technology under its own arms.