A couple of years ago, Apple posted a listing to its Jobs at Apple page describing an engineering project manager position for "Apple Search." Could the company could be working on a full-fledged search engine for use on macOS and iOS platforms?
Here's Apple's job summary (as it appeared at the time): "Apple seeks a technical, driven and creative program manager to manage backend operations projects for a search platform supporting hundreds of millions of users. Play a part in revolutionizing how people use their computers and mobile devices. Manage operational projects that support groundbreaking technology and the most scalable big-data systems in existence.
This position requires a team player and a self-starter with experience leading cross-functional tactical and detailed oriented projects. Must have a successful track record in project management. A successful candidate has a great track record of effectively getting things done and uses resources efficiently. The program manager will clearly assign responsibility for tasks and decisions, and monitor process, progress, and results. Must be able to quickly grasp multiple new technical concepts and lead the team through assessment of goals, risks, dependencies, and timelines. Program managers in our team focus on complex technical issues and are expected to analyze data to provide an in-depth evaluation of variable factors."
Is an Apple search engine a far-fetched idea? Maybe not. In a 2013 Seeking Alpha article Kevin Fulton said he thought an Apple search engine would be the company’s “next big thing” (though, of course, five years later, this still hasn’t happened). He said that Apple has been bolstering its technology portfolio in preparation for the day when it becomes independent from Google.
Fulton said that, rather than competing directly with Google’s broad search capabilities, he thinks Apple will personalize its search offering.
“The search engine will use machine learning and restrict the information only to relevant sources that the user trusts,” he adds. “It will be location and circle of influence based. Apple will implement its personalized search ability across the iOS ecosystem by integrating the improved Siri into apps and having loadable native commands to run those apps by voice.”
I’m not convinced that we'll see Apple Search. However, I’m not as sure as I once was that we won’t.
In May 2015, Apple confirmed the existence of its Applebot web crawler (which isn't to be confused with either Ultron or Spider-man). A Web crawler is an Internet bot that browses the Web in a methodical, automated manner, typically for the purpose of Web indexing. Apple says that Applebot is used by Siri, its voice activated digital assistant, Spotlight suggestions, and its Safari search engine.However, Mark Hibben — independent iOS developer who blogs about technology trends and companies (the focus of his investments) said in a Seeking Alpha op-ed that Apple may gradually develop a search capability to rival Google.