According to a new wave of speculations Apple may be planning to launch its own search engine. Such rumours are not new but there’s a number of reasons why they’ve resurfaced recently.
Signs That Something May Be Up
There’s a number of signs suggesting that Apple may be planning to launch its own search engine:
- Apple has been looking for search engineers.
- The beta version of the mobile update, iOS 14, introduces a search feature that allows users to access search results directly through Spotlight Search.
- In July 2020 major changes were made to the Applebot support page.
- Applebot has been crawling sites more often.
If not a sure sign of Apple launching its own search engine, these behaviours seem to suggest that something is up in the air. According to MacRumours it could simply mean that Apple is focusing on Siri and Spotlight Search. It may well be true that the company is not targeting Safari at the moment, but there are some other factors to keep in mind.
Relationship Between Apple and Google
It’s true that Google’s search engine has been invincible so far. As of August 2020, Google has 95% of the mobile search engine market share in the world.
Its position has a lot to do with Apple as Google is the default search engine for Safari when using Mac, iPhone and iPad devices. This privilege doesn’t come for free and Google has reportedly been paying billions to Apple in order to maintain its status. It does seem like a sweet deal for both companies but the agreement has been raising eyebrows.
Google and Apple Deal Gets Criticised
As reported by Reuters, the deal between Google and Apple creates a “significant barrier to entry and expansion” for other market players in the words of the UK Competitions and Market Authority. It’s worth mentioning that search engines such as Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo also pay Apple to be featured among available options on their devices.
The Authority’s opinion is that it’s up to legislators to choose their strategy when it comes to addressing the deal. Suggestions for improvement include allowing the user to choose its default search engine or restricting Apple’s monetising opportunities in terms of default choices.
This recent development took place in July 2020. While it’s difficult to say what authorities will do in practice, it’s likely that the agreement will be affected in some way. If Apple’s monetising opportunities end up being curbed, this may make it a great time to launch the company’s own search engine.
Benefits for Apple from Own Search Engine
The biggest opportunity for Apple here is independence. Relying on other search engines has been mutually beneficial so far. However, in the light of new developments launching a signature search engine seems like an attractive opportunity.
It’s all pure speculation but it’s possible that Apple won’t go for creating yet another search engine as we know them. Perhaps the suggestions that they’re focusing on Siri and Spotlight Search are a clue here, with the company planning to use their experience further down the line with a new feature. If such an innovative search engine was available on Apple devices only, it would create an undeniable competitive advantage with personalisation.
Personal devices by nature are protective over the privacy of their users. Apple has been underlining its commitment to privacy for years. It’s targeted it again in its new iPhone ad.
A search engine exclusive to such a platform would likely create customer loyalty. It’d also be a great opportunity to promote other products of the brand without bombarding users with ads.
Effect on the SEO Landscape
If Apple released a search engine that’s a direct competitor to currently available ones it would likely seize a portion of the market. In this case the deal with Google would probably become a thing of the past. An appearance of a new and popular search engine would affect the way SEO is done as it would mean no longer primarily positioning for Google.
It’s all hypothetical whether Apple is truly planning to launch a search engine. This is why it’s so difficult to speculate what changes that would mean in practice. Even today the SEO landscape is ever-changing with constantly tweaked algorithms. The industry is used to making strategy adjustments and SEO specialists are likely to adapt to whatever comes.
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