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Apple Webcrawler: More Potential Evidence Of Search Ambitions
While not clearly an official Apple project, it makes sense for the company.
This is what Moesen saw:
I can’t answer Moesen’s question but I’m going to guess it’s an official Apple project. Interestingly, he¬†says it has some sort of bug.
Apple has been working on “search” in various forms¬† for some time. Siri, though not a search engine, is a kind of replacement for search for certain types of queries and activities. Apple has been relying on Bing for websearch “backfill.”
In 2012 the company hired¬†William Stasior¬†from Amazon/A9.¬†Before working at the Amazon search division, Stasior was¬†Alta Vista’s ‚Äúdirector of advanced development.‚ÄĚ There he ‚Äúled the engineering team responsible for developing AltaVista‚Äôs next generation search technologies.”¬†
Apple Maps is a local search engine.¬†Apple Watch extends that¬†local search functionality to your wrist.
In the Yosemite update to Mac OS the new Spotlight Search is front and center on the desktop.¬†Spotlight¬†searches your desktop but also provides¬†web search suggestions from¬†Bing. There¬†are¬†structured data sources that also show up in search results, such as Wikipedia,¬†Maps and Fandango.¬†
Some of this replaces the need to go to Google, but only at the margins.
In this larger context my guess is that Apple is doing something purposeful with a webcrawler. I don’t think that Apple will ever take on Google directly by trying to be a general or all-purpose search engine, but web search and related content capabilities are an increasingly important part of the virtual assistant experience.
Accordingly I would argue that Apple needs more search chops and content¬†if it is to further develop¬†Spotlight Search and to keep Siri competitive with Google/Now and Cortana.