Apple Losing Talent to Google Amid Push to Improve Spotlight and Launch Search Engine

Apple is seeking to improve Spotlight search, but is still years away from launching a search engine to rival Google, according to The Information.

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The paywalled report explains that Apple's search technology faces a setback amid loss of talent to Google. In 2018, Apple sought to bolster development of a web search engine by buying machine learning startup Laserlike, which was founded by three former Google search engineers. The company's technology recommended websites based on a user's interests and browsing history. Now, Laserlike's founders have reportedly returned to Google.

Apple's search team is believed to contain at least 200 employees and powers the technology behind Spotlight, Siri Suggestions, and answers provided by ‌Siri‌. The company is still at least four years away from launching a replacement to Google search, according to one person involved with the team speaking to The Information. While Google pays Apple around $15 billion per year to stay as the default search engine on Apple devices, Apple developing an in-house rival to Google search could increase its leverage during its periodic negotiations with Google over the deal.

In the meanwhile, Apple has apparently discussed using the technology to power search for Apple Music and the App Store. Apple currently uses the search technology to generate data for Apple teams developing apps that use natural language processing, such as the Translate app, and to use tweets to determine newsworthy events that should show up in results and recommend Apple News articles. One of the team's immediate priorities is said to be improving Spotlight so that it can handle "100 times more" queries than it does today.

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Top Rated Comments

sw1tcher Avatar
22 months ago
Apple trying to create their own search engine so they can collect user data and eventually show users ads. I see what you're up to. ;)

Apple has realized how lucrative the ad business can be
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madmin Avatar
22 months ago
So sell your startup to Apple and then take your old job back at Google, nice work !
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ct2k7 Avatar
22 months ago
Apple's search systems, depending on where it is, can be awful. Some are good, but Apple Music is not.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anshuvorty Avatar
22 months ago
Another hint that Apple desperately wants to join the ad business?

If so, sad times for Apple...
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nt5672 Avatar
22 months ago
That is what happens when the guy in charge only cares about money and hardware supply.

The person in charge should be tech aware and understand the software supply chain. Clearly that does not exist at Apple. With services becoming more important it is time for a change.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ratspg Avatar
22 months ago
“Privacy is a fundamental human right. It’s also one of our core values. Which is why we design our products and services to protect it. That’s the kind of innovation we believe in.” -Apple

So is getting paid $15B a year to have Google as your default search engine on your device. Got it. ?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)