An Apple search engine might be in the works by the iPhone maker according to multiple reports of increased activity of the Applebot crawling websites.
For those of you who don’t know, Applebot is basically a web crawler similar to ones other search engines use and the purpose of this is to determine how search results should be ranked.
As of right now, Applebot is used by products like Siri and Spotlight suggestions on Apple devices and according to a report by Coywolf, there has been increased activity reported from the crawler which means that Apple may be gathering data for for launching their own search engine.
Coywolf argues that Google has been paying Apple a handsome amount to remain the default search engine on its devices unless manually changed by the customer.
Although, this deal between the two web giants might be coming to an end as UK regulators may force Apple to remove Google as the default search engine on its devices since the European Union has a history of going after Google for anti-competitive behavior.
That’s not the only reason that suggests Apple launching its own search engine as the company recently updated its Applebot web crawler page with new information.
Most importantly the update provides information on how to customize your robot.txt rules allowing Applebot to crawl your website. All of these details are explained on their crawler support page.
Furthermore, the website also provides information about how search rankings will be determined, which is something Google has been very vague about since the beginning.
According to Apple the following factors will determine a website’s rank in search results:
Aggregated user engagement with search results
Relevancy and matching of search terms to webpage topics and content
Number and quality of links from other pages on the web
User location based signals (approximate data)
Webpage design characteristics
However, there is currently, no official statement by Apple regarding its own search engine being introduced but from the information provided on their support website does suggest that the company is planning something.