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Speculation Over an Apple Search Engine Resurfaces, But Apple Likely Remains Focused on Siri and Spotlight

PSeg90

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2020
96
143
Chattanooga, TN
Kinda like how Apple has the 'Type to Siri' feature for search results, I could see that being more incorporated into the Siri Search/Spotlight:
1598544643765.png
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,829
2,385
Between the coasts
Siri Search is already a thing - the equivalent of "Spotlight" in macOS is branded Siri Search for iOS. From Apple's perspective, Search should be an integrated part of the user experience - if the task requires search, then search occurs. No "going to Google" (or Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc.) as a separate act or destination. It's not just a matter of searching the web, but searching all your data, contacts, email, text messages, media, apps, etc. for what you desire.

Google's model is built on offering a useful, free service to draw traffic that can reach users of any platform. There's nothing intrinsically wrong or "commercial" about search. Web search has simply become commercialized. However, Google search is, by its nature, an external search. Would you grant Google the right to crawl the contents of your hard drives and iPhones?

Apple's model is product-as-service. By making their devices incredibly useful, they keep selling more products and encourage repeat business. In an environment where search becomes nearly invisible and ubiquitous, there's no need to "search" as a separate task/function. Whether given as a spoken command or a typed text string, search is simply delivered when needed.

Privacy is key, of course. Google's business model nearly demands that all search processing occur server-side. There are certainly benefits for the end-user in terms of search quality - the better Google understands your needs, the better the results. However, we know Google also uses that knowledge against us by selling the fruits of that knowledge to others. Apple, on the other hand, is doing far more of its work on the local device. They're selling us the processing power and reducing their need for server-side investment. The better my iPhone and Mac "understand" my needs, the better they can serve me.

It's not a surprise that Apple would want to improve the quality of its "external" (web) search. Apple is already in full control of internal search. If they don't have to defer to a third-party for external search, so much the better. If my Apple devices delivered a useful, truly non-commercial web search result (no ads at the top of the list, no sites buying their way into a better position, etc.)... count me in!
 
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gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
17,391
4,621
People laugh at Apple trying to compete with Google in maps but think they’d be able to do it with search? Seriously?
Not by out-googling google. But by doing something different. Something that isn't aimed at advertisers, but at people. Giving you the information you are looking for, not a link to someone flogging something remotely similar to it.
 
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recoil80

macrumors 68040
Jul 16, 2014
3,096
2,723
As they care about privacy, this could be a good move.
I have to say I'm more interested in their hardware and os and I don't really care about services, but a search engine maybe something more to generate the service revenues they need so badly.
 
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alexhardaker

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2014
447
411
Apple already provides insights to advertisers without giving personal information and tracking of consumers. With the search engine, they can have additional consumer insights to sell following the same privacy plan. This would replace and exceed the loss of the 9 billion dollar contract.
Do they?
 
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mi7chy

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2014
6,800
7,797
Is DuckDuckGo bad? I've been using it since the last 5 months on my iPhone, had zero expectations, and found out this is actually pretty good.

DuckDuckGo was useless when I tried searching recently for info on an item made in the 1980s before the internet. Google search, on the other hand, linked to an article on specific page within scanned magazine.
 
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noon11111

macrumors newbie
Apr 3, 2019
7
9
Apple already provides insights to advertisers without giving personal information and tracking of consumers. With the search engine, they can have additional consumer insights to sell following the same privacy plan. This would replace and exceed the loss of the 9 billion dollar contract.

1. Consider that $9B is 100% profit. It costs them nothing.
2. Consider how much revenue they'd have to generate from their own SE to generate a $9B profit? The amount of revenue they'd need would be staggering. They would take on huge risk, immediately lose $9B in pure profit, and likely make on a fraction back any time soon.
3. People would still probably just use Google.
 
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DelayedGratificationGene

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2020
149
208
I would like to see this actually. And would give it a try in a heartbeat.

In typical Apple fashion I expect it to suck a little bit at the beginning and then slowly become great. Finally this year I was able to switch to Apple Maps, it is still not perfect but it is good enough... Although as soon as I am out of the US I have to switch back to Google Maps.
Yes Apple Maps is superior to google maps
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Not by out-googling google. But by doing something different. Something that isn't aimed at advertisers, but at people. Giving you the information you are looking for, not a link to someone flogging something remotely similar to it.
Absolutely!
 
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Saturnine

macrumors 65816
Oct 23, 2005
1,125
1,252
Manchester, UK
I don’t buy the article’s conclusion that the crawling is purely for Spotlight and/or Siri. If they’re indexing the web and providing search results through either of the above then creating a web-based interface would seem to be a no brainier. The difficulty is quickly providing relevant results from such a massive index. The front-end interface is comparatively trivial.
 
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Username32123

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2020
56
140
Apple, give us a good search engine and improved Maps and you’ll finally allow a lot of us to finally dump Google
 
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now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
5,820
11,955
Somehow the gazillion servers Google uses to run its search empire have to be paid for and the jaw dropping operating costs accounted for. If everyone wants free search that doesn't suck royally, the only way to do that is monetize search queries.
Can't have it both ways
 
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hagar

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
862
1,708
I would love this.

Based on my experiences with Maps, it would frequently suck but I would still use it:
- It would only have 1/10 of the websites compared to Google, and most of its metadata would be wrong or incomplete.
- it would absolutely make zero assumptions to interpret my queries or try to guide me to the site I was looking for.
- It wouldn’t support fuzzy search, so if I make a spelling error it would yield no results.
- Once in a while it would present me with some crazy far fetched results thanks to all that Siri AI cleverness. When I try again 10 min later it would be impossible to repeat these results.
- It would frequently send me to websites in languages I don’t understand. Because it refuses to keep track of my language. Privacy you know.
- It would not have a filter bubble or confirmation bias as it would not store any of my previous queries. This would drive flat earthers, antivaxxers, climate change deniers and Fox viewers up the wall, as they would accuse Apple of pushing its liberal agenda.
- the interface would be gorgeous, putting Google to shame.
 
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coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,773
4,991
Vancouver, BC
Perhaps Apple is looking to rethink how we 'search' for things on the internet.

It's become second nature that we just click on a box, type something, and then a bunch of text results appear - so perhaps Apple wants to try a different take on this.


They already have — Siri.

"Hey Siri, can dogs eat cucumbers?"

I'm amazed at the comprehensive answers that Siri gives these days. Truly helpful and on point, rather than searching through search results.
 
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coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,773
4,991
Vancouver, BC
Is DuckDuckGo bad? I've been using it since the last 5 months on my iPhone, had zero expectations, and found out this is actually pretty good.

I have DDG as my default, but STILL manually go to Google every damn time! DDG just doesn't give the same level of quality, sadly.

I wish Apple would invest into DDG.
 
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ipedro

macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
5,408
6,492
Toronto, ON
Is DuckDuckGo bad? I've been using it since the last 5 months on my iPhone, had zero expectations, and found out this is actually pretty good.

I set DuckDuckGo as my default Search multiple times through the years, but ended up removing it after one or two days. Some time early this year, I set it and forgot about it because it's getting the job done. I've been using it regularly for several months and only on occasion have I gone to Google.com on purpose to search for something I didn't find in my original search on Siri or DuckDuckGo.

While Apple doesn't need a web based search engine like Google, they'll need to stop outsourcing search in Siri if they're ever going to be able to know enough about the world, including up-to-date information on current events, like Google does.

Google assistant isn't particularly smarter than Siri, it's just more knowledgeable because it has unlimited access to the world's largest search engine. Apple has to ask others for that.

Siri Search is getting more prominent in iOS and iPadOS 14 so it's a step in the right direction. The way it gets better is by being used and being upfront and centre on iPhones and iPads will move the needle considerably. Apple needs to steer users to Siri, whether spoken or typed in, as the first stop for search, not a typical search engine in a browser.
 
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enu

macrumors newbie
Nov 29, 2012
14
8
New Hampshire
I have DDG as my default, but STILL manually go to Google every damn time! DDG just doesn't give the same level of quality, sadly.

I wish Apple would invest into DDG.

I use DDG as my default search and find only once or twice a week I have to fall back to Google. If it doesn't give you a good result or if you just want to use google, you can use a "!g" at the front of your search string and it'll forward your search to Google. It has a bunch of those built in, like !w will search Wikipedia.

Edit: Looks like they have one for this site too, !macrumors works for searching here.
 
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rp2011

macrumors 68000
Oct 12, 2010
1,744
1,700
As an added service to Apple customers and their privacy, I have always felt they needed to have it’s own search engine. Competition is not just good, it is a necessary. It’s good for consumers and innovation. Looking at the bigger picture it also seems insane to leave this sector unchallenged to one major player and monopoly.
 
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pratikindia

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2014
418
412
Is DuckDuckGo bad? I've been using it since the last 5 months on my iPhone, had zero expectations, and found out this is actually pretty good.
Nothing can replace Google Search now. Every other search engine is pretty bad. They just don’t get the results I need.
 
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hot-gril

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2020
576
422
Northern California, USA
Siri/Spotlight is a search engine of sorts. I don't think Apple will make a Google-style website for anyone to use if that's what the article means. Look at Maps, only built into Apple devices.
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People laugh at Apple trying to compete with Google in maps but think they’d be able to do it with search? Seriously?
Maps is fine.
 
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