One of the most significant reasons Google’s mobile search has succeeded is because it’s the default search engine on every iPhone. In fact, the company has invested billions for this privilege ever since it’s been incorporated. However, recent evidence suggests that Apple is currently working on its own search engine that could take Google’s head-on.
So, what are the telltale signs? For starters, Coywold’s Jon Henshaw highlighted that Apple’s has recently amped up its job listing efforts by announcing posts for search engineers, which include Apple Maps. Additionally, in iOS 14, Spotlight Search doesn’t focus or completely ignores Google results. Moreover, Apple has even updated its webcrawler support page, i.e. Applebot with updated information on how the tool ranks results, leading to Applebot starting to crawl sites more frequently.
Google forced to create a “search choice” screen for Android
Recently in Europe, there is increasing concern over regulatory and antitrust activities concerning default search on Android devices. In fact, Google was forced to create a “search choice” screen for Android users whenever they set up a new device. While this was a controversial move, it did give users the chance to select an alternative to Google and boost its competitors market shares. However, this still doesn’t mean it’ll happen.
Currently, there is a search choice on iPhone as users can select from DuckDuckGo, Google, Yahoo, or Bing. However, users still don’t select any of these options. Additionally, in 2013, the default search engine for Siri was switched to Bing, but the search engine for Safari remained Google. In 2017, Bing was replaced by Google as the source of search engine results for Siri.
95% market share for Google mobile search
Currently, Yahoo and Bing, together, constitute less than 5 percent of mobile searches in the U.S. However, Google’s mobile search market share which is approximately 95 percent and the ongoing antitrust investigations in both the U.S. and Europe, Google probably has limited days as Safari’s default search engine.
For Apple to launch its own search engine, it’s about enhancing its overall strategic capabilities to take more control over the user experience it offers and how it displays apps and content on its devices. Apple launching its own search engine could potentially help it make it to the top as the number two mobile search engine. In fact, currently in the U.S. Safari is the most popular mobile browser, ahead of Chrome.
However, Spotlight Search is not as commonly used for web search as compared to dedicated search apps such as Google or web browsers. However, Spotlight offers a more integrated experience where Siri results, the Safari browser default search, and Spotlight Search become more coherent with each other.
Apple launching its own search engine could bring a strong new competitor to the market. How Apple can utilize its resources and give competition to Google remains to be seen.