We could be seeing Apple Search take on Google sooner rather than later

Google icon on iPhone
(Image credit: Brett Jordan)

The “silent war” between Apple and Google has been talked about for years with rumours of Apple quietly working on an Apple Search to compete with Alphabet’s search engine. Now, according to a report in the Financial Times, the Apple Search engine might be happening sooner rather than later.

Earlier this month, Apple launched Business Connect, a free tool that allows businesses to claim location place cards in Apple Maps with customizable information targeted at Apple’s one billion users. The Financial Times report (opens in new tab), released earlier today suggests that Business Connect could be one element of a three-part strategy to take Google head-on. 

“This is a direct challenge to Google Maps, which partners with recommendations platform Yelp to offer similar information and makes revenues from advertising and referral fees,” the report states. 

Apple's Trojan Horse

The other elements in the strategy are an Apple Search tool, which has been in the works since “at least 2013 and the acquisition of Topsy Labs, a start-up that had indexed Twitter to enable searches and analytics." The ground work is already baked into your devices, whether you realise it or not. "The technology is used every time an iPhone user asks Apple’s voice assistant Siri for information, types queries from the home screen, or uses the Mac’s “Spotlight” search feature,” the report continues.

The Financial Times estimates that Apple currently receives between $8bn and $12bn a year from Alphabet to make sure that Google is the default search engine on iOS. Apple’s ethos and opportunity to highlight privacy features is a potential strategy for the company to showcase their own search engine.  

The final element of Apple’s “Silent War” is reportedly an attempt to stake a claim in the online advertising space where Alphabet and Google ads run supreme. The Financial Times report states that Apple posted a position for an individual to “drive the design of the most privacy-forward, sophisticated demand-side platform possible”. A demand-side platform is a type of software that allows an advertiser to buy advertising space, a clear indication that Apple wants a piece of the pie. 

If Apple’s three-part strategy does come into play, it's certain to have an impact on iOS and the best iPhones moving forward, should the company stray away from the world’s largest and most used search engine. 

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.