Could Apple be preparing to square up to Google in the world of search? OK, it seems pretty unlikely – a bit like David trying to get one in Goliath’s eye with a marzipan slingshot and a sprained wrist. That’s not meant to be insulting; it’s just a recognition of how massive the search giants really are out there. But Ghent-based web developer Jan Moesen has nonetheless noticed something interesting: Apple seems to be crawling websites with its very own automated bot.
Does this hold promise for the rise of another algorithm-driven means of filtering your content or might it be rather more modest? Everyone involved in digital video production and online content would like to know the answer to that one. But before your hair starts to whiten in stress, SearchEngineLand.com’s Greg Sterling is firmly of the belief that we’re not going to have to contend with another set of algorithm updates just yet.
“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’.”
Apple has also, of course, developed Apple Maps, its local search engine (which can now be accessed via your wrist courtesy of the Apple Watch). But the central place given to Apple’s new Spotlight Search following the Yosemite update to MacOS may provide the true answer to the enigma of the Apple bot.
Spotlight concentrates on searching your desktop but it draws on Bing to provide search suggestions and it includes structured data sources like Fandango, Wikipedia and Maps in its results. But the likelihood of Apple taking on Google head-to-head as an all-singing, all-dancing search engine is about as likely as a snowball surviving a blast furnace. Instead, it seems to be aimed at enhancing Apple’s Spotlight experience with web search and related content.