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, heÂ says it has some sort of bug.
Apple has been working on “search” in various formsÂ 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 hiredÂ William StasiorÂ from Amazon/A9.Â Before working at the Amazon search division, Stasior wasÂ Alta Vista’s â€śdirector of advanced development.â€ť There he â€śled the engineering team responsible for developing AltaVistaâ€™s next generation search technologies.”Â
Apple Maps is a local search engine.Â Apple Watch extends thatÂ local search functionality to your wrist.
In the Yosemite update to Mac OS the new Spotlight Search is front and center on the desktop.Â SpotlightÂ searches your desktop but also providesÂ web search suggestions fromÂ Bing. ThereÂ areÂ structured data sources that also show up in search results, such as Wikipedia,Â Maps and Fandango.Â
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 contentÂ if it is to further developÂ Spotlight Search and to keep Siri competitive with Google/Now and Cortana.