Apple to Move into the Search Market?
November 7, 2014
While some may argue that the likes of Siri already display Apple’s intentions in regards to the search market, it has recently been discovered that there is a web-crawling bot that is believed to have originated from Apple servers currently making the rounds.
Current scuttlebutt indicates that the bot is probably an official project that, if true, would bear all of the hallmarks of an early venture by the company into collecting website data that could be used in a future search engine project.
Currently Apple mostly relies on Bing for its general web search as part of the Siri programming, which itself is less a search engine in the traditional sense and more an alternative means for the company to return results based on specific, question-type queries.
However there are also signs that the company is looking to plough further into the search game, with Apple Maps and Apple Watch both featuring forms of more traditional search, though localised in a similar manner to Google Maps.
Furthermore the company hired a man named William Stasior back in 2012. Stasior has an extensive background in search, having worked as part of the Altavista team in regards to development of advanced search technologies. He has also operated as part of Amazon’s own search division, though in that case he worked on search for a single website. If the rumours are true and Stasior is indeed part of a team that is currently working on a search project for Apple, the move would indicate a large step up for both the developer and the company as a whole, bringing them into even more direct competition with Google.
The crutch is that Apple may actually have the branding power to take a significant chunk of the search market share away from Google where others, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, have struggled. After all, if there is any company that could make a search engine appear “cool” it would be Apple.
However, it is probably more likely that the bot is part of the Spotlight Search feature that is currently a prominent part of current and next-generation versions of iOS software.
Whatever the case may be, the discovery shows that Apple are at least working on something, and that something may bring them into direct competition with Google on yet another front. We can already see for ourselves the battle between the Android operating system and iOS in the mobile market. Could we be about to see something similar in search? Only time will tell but it is an interesting time for those who work in the industry and those who aim to increase their own search visibility, as it potentially opens up another avenue to work within.