Apple has long been dependent on Google for its default search engine on its devices. However, recent reports suggest that Apple might be contemplating a dramatic shift, aiming to create its own search engine. The move could have significant implications for both the tech industry and the everyday experience of Apple users.
Apple rumored to be working on a search engine, codenamed “Pegasus,” for its ecosystem
For over a decade, Google has held the coveted position of being the iPhone’s default search engine. This partnership has not only ensured user convenience but has also been immensely lucrative for Apple, with reports suggesting that Google pays the tech giant between $8 billion and $12 billion annually for this privilege. Nevertheless, this partnership has come under scrutiny, as US government authorities have charged Google with maintaining a monopoly in online search and ad sales.
In the latest edition of his “Power On,” newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman explores the intriguing possibility of Apple launching its own search engine. While he acknowledges that this idea might be a “long shot,” Gurman points out that Apple has already taken significant steps toward this endeavor. Apple has incorporated search engines into various services such as the App Store, Maps, Apple TV, and News, providing a glimpse of what an integrated Apple search engine could look like.
One crucial element of this potential move is the development of a next-generation search engine codenamed “Pegasus.” This cutting-edge technology, overseen by John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and AI, is focused on delivering more accurate search results. It’s already integrated into some apps and could potentially find its way into the App Store, further strengthening Apple’s search capabilities.
While the idea of Apple creating its own search engine is exciting, whether it will come to fruition remains uncertain. Eddy Cue, an Apple executive, has previously expressed that Apple doesn’t feel the need to build its search engine, even turning down an opportunity to acquire Bing in 2020.
Spotlight and the ongoing antitrust lawsuit
Apple has also been refining its existing search feature, Spotlight, which helps iOS users find content on their devices. While Spotlight initially relied on results from Bing or Google, Apple has been taking steps to make it more autonomous.
Interestingly, this search engine speculation comes in the midst of an ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Google, with Apple being a key witness. The US Department of Justice is scrutinizing Google’s multibillion-dollar deal with Apple that designates it as the default search engine on iPhones, alleging monopoly practices in online search and ad sales.
During the testimony in this lawsuit, John Giannandrea revealed an intriguing feature in iOS 17 – the ability for users to change their default search engine in private browsing mode. This development suggests that Apple is actively exploring ways to offer users more choice and control over their search experience.