Can New ‘AppleBot’ Outsmart Google?

Chances are you use Google when you search for something on the web. That company therefore has a particularly high-performance search engine. Apple is now also working on such a ‘search robot’. Could it overtake Google?

Website administrators have recently reported a striking phenomenon. Their websites suddenly receive significantly more visits from the Applebot. Such a bot, also known as a “web crawler” or “spider”, searches and inventorises the web in a very methodical way. It lets search engines answer your questions at lightning speed with lists of web pages.

Apple’s site states that the bot is used for the virtual personal assistant Siri and for Spotlight Search, software that searches for information on the user’s device.

Alternative to Google

For some time it has been buzzing with rumors that Apple is working on a real alternative to Google’s search engine. Especially since Apple recruited John Giannandrea, the top engineer of Google’s search engine, over two years ago.

The business newspaper Financial Times noted this week how Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 14, already performs certain search functions independently of Google. The search function of the iPhone now comes with search results from Apple, not from Google. The searches complete themselves when you start typing. So Apple learns from the search behavior of its billion users.

US Department of Justice

Yet not everyone is convinced that Apple wants to and can overtake Google. For starters, Google pays an estimated $ 10 billion a year to be the leading search engine in Apple’s ecosystem. That’s a lot of money even for Apple. However, it is important to note that the US Department of Justice only filed a complaint against Google because it would crush competition. Supervisors in Europe are also sharpening their knife. If the deal with Google turns out to be unsustainable, Apple must have alternatives.

But can Apple catch up with Google’s search engine? Apple may employ engineers with a lot of expertise in search algorithms, but Google has an army of such experts. Apple has a large ecosystem, but Google has been plowing the world wide web for years. The Google search engine receives hundreds of millions of searches worldwide every minute and can endlessly refine its algorithms on that basis.

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