Will Apple ever compete with Google on building a search engine for the web? Never say never, but Google pays Apple $15 billion per year to not think too hard about it. That’s something the government hopes it can disrupt. If the incentives for Apple were different someday, would Apple have the tools to go to bat against Google?
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Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman provided an insightful look at Apple’s search chops in his Power On newsletter this week.
Per Gurman’s reporting, former Google exec and current Apple AI boss John Giannandrea oversees a “giant search team” at Apple. In recent years, this team has built a “next-generation search engine” codenamed “Pegasus” that Apple uses in some of its apps today.
John Giannandrea, a former Google executive who now oversees machine learning and AI at Apple, has a giant search team under him. Over the past few years, his group developed a next-generation search engine for Apple’s apps codenamed “Pegasus.”
Apple will soon entrust Pegasus to be the foundation of search in one of Apple’s biggest revenue drivers: the App Store. That may not be as colossal as indexing the entire web for search results, but Apple doesn’t take its App Store revenue lightly.
And as Gurman flags, Apple actually does index the internet for search results that Siri and Spotlight may need to surface instantly for users. His point? Apple may not have an in-house Google Search competitor ready today, but the company certainly has the right components and expertise at Apple Park to get there if needed.
For now, however, Apple is sitting happy on the billions of dollars Google pays to keep Google Search as the default search engine on Safari.
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