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Apple Confirms 'Applebot' as In-House Web Crawler for Services Like Siri and Spotlight
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.
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 18.104.22.168/8, 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.