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Sci-Tech
Wednesday Oct 28 2020
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Is Apple taking Google head on with its own search engine?

iOS 14, the latest version of the Apple iPhone operating system, can already operate some searches without using Google. — Photo courtesy Financial Times

Apple has apparently set out to soon make available its own search engine, a report by the Financial Times shows.

According to FT, evidence for this is contained in Apple's latest operating system version — iOS 14 — in which queries typed on the home screen in the "Today View", accessed by swiping right, show search results generated by Apple rather than Google results.

These include “autocomplete”-style suggestions, showing that Apple seeks to learn from its user base of one billion on what their most asked queries are.

FT notes that although Apple is known for being "notoriously secretive", it was evident it aims to take Google head on when it hired Google's head of search John Giannandrea two-and-a-half years ago.

The development comes amid Google threatened by US antitrust authorities looking to limit its hold on the industry. And with a US Department of Justice case launched last week over Google's payments to Apple to be the iPhone's default search engine, further momentum was added to the initiative.

"[Apple's] growing in-house search capability gives it an alternative if regulators block its lucrative partnership with Google," the FT report says.

It adds that while building a "true rival" to the Google search engine could be years away, with profits this year estimated to exceed $55bn and net cash reserves of $81bn, Apple is more than well-placed to make long-term investments.