by Jean-Louis Gassée
Next week, during the Spring 2021 Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announces its new general-purpose Apple Search engine.
This is speculation, of course, but is it unrealistic? We know that Apple has considered a search engine in the past. These efforts may have been energized by the 2018 addition of AI and Machine Learning expert John Giannandrea, a Silicon Valley veteran who was CTO of Metaweb (“an open, shared database of the world’s knowledge”) when it was acquired by Google in 2010.
Thus, Apple has the penchant and the brains to create its own search engine…but why bother? Why waste billions when Emperor Google is in an unshakably dominant position?
Google Search may be dominant, but it’s hardly a monopoly. If you Google the term “search engines”, the first result, from the Search Engine Journal, lists 17 Great Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google. (Come to think of it, the list omits at least one other engine that I know of: Qwant.)
The existence of (more than) 17 search engines tells us that you don’t need Google or Microsoft billions to create one. (Nor is money a guarantee of success: Amazon discontinued its own A9 search portal in 2008.)
What differentiates these engines? Some repackage or filter Google data for political or social purposes. For…