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    May 7, 2015

    Is Apple developing its own search engine?

    Apple’s next stab at Google might not just be limited to smartphones, operating systems, web browsers and mapping – if recent news reports are to be believed, Apple is in the midst of developing its own search engine.

    A recent addition to Apple’s support site details a web crawler named Applebot; web crawlers are used to index web pages for search terms, and the confirmed existence of Applebot is the first time the Cupertino company has publicly confirmed an in-house web crawler.

    Apple has officially claimed that Applebot is used by services such as Siri on iOS and Spotlight on Mac OS X, rather than either client route search terms through the likes of existing search engines such as Google or Yahoo, as was previously thought.

    While the confirmed existence of a web crawler hardly indicates that Apple is actively developing its own search engine, other recent rumours add slightly more weight to the theory.

    Apple’s deal with Google to ensure the search engine as the default search option is set to expire at some point in the first semester of 2015 – early indications suggest that both Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing have made offers to the Cupertino giant to secure Google’s former place.

    Further, a prevous job advertisement posted by Apple sought an “Engineering Project Manager” for a project named Apple Search. The project outline is simple, detailing a “search platform supporting hundreds of millions of users”.

    Whether Apple intends to produce a fully-blown search engine remains to be seen; the company could simply be repositioning both Siri and Spotlight’s access to internet resources.

    Alternatively, the company could also be developing an in-house web crawler for native use on the company’s upcoming update to the Apple TV, much in the way Microsoft’s Xbox One makes exclusive use of Bing.

    More on the story as news develops.

    Follow Bryan on Twitter: @bryansmith1138

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