A competitor of Google may appear in the market of search engines.
Will there be a search engine from Apple? What is known about the Applebot search engine crawler?
Search engine from Apple
What happened? The authoritative Financial Times publication has published information from Apple sources. It is reported that Apple is actively developing its own search engine to replace Google, which is used by default on the iPhone and iPad.
Fact 1. Western media have recorded an increase in the activity of Apple’s search crawler.
Example of activity. Server logs.
Fact 2. many different facts point to the work in this direction. For example, Apple is expanding the list of vacancies for which it offers work on the architecture of an innovative search engine.
References to the list of vacancies – Jobs in Apple.
Fact 3: Apple hired John Giannandrea, who previously served as Senior Vice President of Search and Artificial Intelligence at Google Search. He currently reports directly to Tim Cook, the company’s president.
Can Apple create a competitor to Google? It takes years to develop a truly competitive search engine. But this is not the first year the company is engaged in this area.
It is difficult to create a search, but in general, market experts have reacted optimistically.
According to Bill Kugran from Sequoia Capital, formerly Google’s Vice President of Development, Apple has qualified employees who can create a new search engine.
Neeva’s founder and former head of Google’s advertising division, Shridhar Ramaswamy, talks about creating a search engine:
Columbia University Business School Professor Dan Van believes that Apple will be extremely difficult to catch up with Google.
Job lists on Apple’s website indicate the intention to speed up the search engine development process.
But what is the reason for the rush? Development catalyzed the claim.
At the end of last month, the United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against Google.
What is the essence of the claim? The Office believes that the agreement between Apple and Google to install a search engine by default is an illegal practice, as it is used to protect Google’s monopoly and suppress competition.
Google has similar deals with other companies. But the importance of the deal with Apple makes the agreement the most important.
Inside Google, this scenario is called Code Red.
Code Red for Google
The basis of the claim is a deal in which Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year to guarantee that the search engine will be used by default on the iPhone and other Apple devices.
The lawsuit states that Sundar Pichai (Google) and Tim Cook (Apple) met in 2018 to discuss how both companies can increase profits from using the search.
After the meeting, Google received a letter from Apple with this text:
Our vision is that we work as if we are one company.
What did Google get? Monopoly on the market of search engines. According to the Ministry of Justice, thanks to the deal Google got 36% of all search queries in the states. The lawsuit also states that in 2019, almost 50% of Google’s search traffic was generated by Apple devices.
What did Apple get? Apple receives from Google $ 8-12 billion a year for the fact that the Google search engine is used by default on the iPhone and iPad.
Deal with Google brings 15-20% of all annual profits Apple. The amount for the company is significant.
The Ministry of Justice is seeking to eliminate this monopoly. The Office believes that the monopoly prevents other projects from growing. Argumentation:
Google pays Apple billions to be the default search provider, in part, because Google knows the agreement increases the company’s valuable scale; this simultaneously denies that scale to rivals.
We could lose the next wave of innovation. Americans may never get to see the next Google.
Google acknowledges this transaction:
Our agreements with Apple and other device makers and carriers are no different from the agreements that many other companies have traditionally used to distribute software
If the court is lost, all search engines will be in an equal position. Result:
- Google’s share on the market for search engines will significantly decrease;
- Apple has a significant decrease in profits.
As a result, Apple has activated the development of a search engine.
What about the search engine in practice now? The first version of the search is already developed.
In one of the latest updates of iOS 14, the search engine can already perform the most popular searches without using Google.
Search is integrated into Spotlight on iPad OS and iOS. It opens like this:
- Launch Spotlight;
- Enter the required search query;
- Click on the search icon.
Looks like this:
Does not work on all requests, and not in all countries.
The goal is to create a search that will replace Google on the iPhone and iPad.
Advantages of the search engine for Apple:
- Promotion of applications in search results that will generate revenue;
- Promotion of Apple products and services. Including such services as Apple News, Apple TV, Apple One.
- Complete control within the ecosystem;
- Income from advertising applications in the search engine.
Losses of Google:
- Weakening of the Google monopoly, a significant blow to advertising revenue;
- Reduces the data used by Google’s search engine in ranking sites;
Apple is a company that has the ability to scan sites on a global scale. Most alternative search engines, including DuckDuckGo and Neeva, use the Microsoft Bing search engine index.
Scanning sites is performed by an Applebot robot. The collected data is analyzed for ranking in Siri Proposals and Spotlight Proposals.
How do I recognize a visit from a search engine crawler on a site? The user-agent line necessarily contains the inscription Applebot.
At the moment, version 0.1.
What is known about the crawler? Applebot supports the standard robots.txt directives. For example, a directive to deny access to private:
If there is no mention of Applebot in the instructions of the robots file, but there is Googlebot, the Apple crawler will follow the instructions for Googlebot.
The crawler also supports robots meta tags on pages.
Applebot supports the directives listed below:
- Noindex: Applebot will not index this page, and it will not appear in the “Siri Offers” and “Spotlight Offers” services.
- nosnippet: Applebot will not create a description or webcam for this page. Any suggestions to visit the appropriate URL will only include the page title.
- nofollow: Applebot will not click on any links on this page.
- none: Applebot will not index this page, use fragments of it, or follow links to it as described above.
- All: Applebot provides a document for suggestions and uses fragments of content to make a short page description appear next to the demo image. Applebot can click on links on this page to make more suggestions.
Connect with the team, which deals with the direction of scanning sites – firstname.lastname@example.org.
After scanning, the data is transferred to the ranking system. What factors affect the ranking? Let’s deal with the question below.
SEO in Apple search engine
The appearance of a search engine requires work to optimize pages. Well, in the global sense, no special changes are expected.
In the documentation to the crawler Apple openly states such a ranking signal:
- Aggregated user interaction with search results;
- Relevance and relevance of search terms to the topics and content of the web page;
- Quantity and quality of links from other pages in the network;
- Signals based on the location of the user (approximate data);
- Features of the web page design.
External links are included in the list of key ranking factors.
Recommended material in the MegaIndex blog on the topic of external links further – SEO links promotion in 2020. Practical guide.
For Applebot to index the page in the best possible way, make sure that everything the browser needs to display the page is also available to the crawler.
Google monopolized the market by paying a large sum. A lawsuit has been filed from the department.
In order not to lose the market, Apple has activated the development of its own search engine. The search would allow the company to carry out disintermediation, leaving only its own system.
As of now, for a number of search queries, links from Spotlight lead directly to sites. The fact indicates that the entry-level search system is already developed.
The algorithms of ranking are based on the analysis of external links, behavioral factors.
It is not clear what interface the Apple search engine will have. Will the search work only through Spotlight on devices with iOS and OS X, or there will be a full site, such as siri.com.
At the moment, everything is based on observations and assumptions.
The search engine would allow advertisers to access a premium audience. The company has a good chance to take away some of its advertising budgets.
Audience loyalty to the brand initially helped to collect the information needed to ensure quality search.
Will Apple be able to create a successful search engine?