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Apple Confirms 'Applebot' as In-House Web Crawler for Services Like Siri and Spotlight

Apple yesterday gave a few interesting details on something it's calling "Applebot", the company's in-house web crawler that is used to help power services like Siri and Spotlight on iOS and OS X platforms (via Apple Insider).

In the past, Apple has partnered with companies like Google and Bing to provide search results in a few of its own products like Siri, but this week's news could be an additional hint at Apple introducing its own complete search platform in the future. Most recently, in early February, a job listing provided more fuel to a rumor that the Cupertino company was doing just that, although it was likely to be describing ongoing efforts to improve Spotlight and was never legitimized.

applebot
What we now know as Applebot was first spotted by developer Jan Moesen last November, who discovered numerous web hits from a crawler indexing from a block detailed to be 17.0.0.0/8, an IP address block owned and operated wholly by Apple. This, coupled with the impending termination of a contract between Apple and Google for a Safari search engine deal, began fueling rumors of Apple's own dedicated web engine.

The confirmation of Applebot is the closest the company has come to speaking directly on the subject, but it is still unclear whether the web crawler is setting up to be the basis for an Apple-branded search engine, or simply acting as more support for third-party search platforms when running Apple's Siri and Spotlight services.

Tag: Applebot


Top Rated Comments

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14 months ago

Interesting. But just as Apple Maps is no match for Google Maps, the same will probably be true of an Apple search engine vs Google search.


I would downvote you if I could.
Apple and google maps are good at different things. google search though is just a paid service where google chooses some of the higher bidders to get better search results. It's not an unbiased internet search.
Rating: 21 Votes
14 months ago
Just buy DuckDuckGo already! :P
Rating: 20 Votes
14 months ago
Interesting. But just as Apple Maps is no match for Google Maps, the same will probably be true of an Apple search engine vs Google search.
Rating: 16 Votes
14 months ago
Yep

Go Apple (search) go! Am sick of all that "Do no Evil" BS.
Rating: 11 Votes
14 months ago

If they plan on making a search engine as good as the comparable Maps experience, then, well, I think I will stick to Google.


WHAT!!!! But with Apple adopting both you can have the amazing experience of getting lost in both the physical and online worlds at the same time. Try that with Google. :p
Rating: 11 Votes
14 months ago
Remember when Apple was spun as focusing on a few things and doing them really well?

I heard a rumor that next week Apple is going to get into the business of making oven mits and salsa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA3qAVOLIsU
Rating: 10 Votes
14 months ago
Tough to compete with Google, especially in its bread and butter. But just like Apple Maps has taken huge market share from Google Maps (and I believe growing as iPhone takes market share from PCs and Android Smart Phones), I suspect this search will take market share from Google.
Rating: 9 Votes
14 months ago
Why are all the posts in this thread about an Apple search engine? There is no mention of an Apple search engine, there is not going to be an Apple search engine - lots of companies have crawler bots and don't create search engines as a direct result of them. Its as it says, for Siri and Spotlight.
Rating: 9 Votes
14 months ago

Tough to compete with Google, especially in its bread and butter. But just like Apple Maps has taken huge market share from Google Maps (and I believe growing as iPhone takes market share from PCs and Android Smart Phones), I suspect this search will take market share from Google.


Don’t be ridiculous. Apple Maps is only available on Apple devices IIAC. Google maps is available everywhere on every platform.
Rating: 7 Votes
14 months ago

Exactly. Apple's focus should be on making Siri and Spotlight best in class. I don't think anyone can say Siri is best in class right now.We know Microsoft has big plans for Cortana so Apple can't afford to let Siri fall further behind.


Completely agree! Even so, I fear that's a tragic understatement - Siri is absolutely appalling. It works worse now than it ever did on iOS 5.
Rating: 7 Votes

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