Will Apple’s Spotlight search feature rival Google and Bing?

Although it might not be the most popular feature on iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, Apple’s Spotlight search facility could soon rival Google and Bing according to reports. An article on AppleInsider has revealed that the Cupertino-based brand wants to turn Spotlight into a legitimate web search engine, which could have far-reaching consequences for every business operating online.

Recent changes to Apple’s search footprint

The team tasked with Apple’s latest mission is made up of employees from Topsy, the social search firm acquired for more than $200 million in 2013. Topsy co-founder and CTO Vipul Ved Prakash is the group’s director of engineering, while product chief Jamie de Guerre takes charge of the engineering program management team.

In spite of Topsy’s privileged access to “firehouse,” a real-time streaming service of each and every tweet on Twitter, it seems as though Apple are more interested in search rather than social media.  However, content from Twitter will soon start to appear on Apple’s Spotlight due to a strong relationship between the two companies.

Why Apple might succeed

Apple’s internet search group has already started to deliver results thanks to Topsy, with the release of OS X Yosemite revealing the new “Spotlight Suggestions” feature, which consolidates information from the web and gives suggested results in Safari 8’s smart search field.

This is made possible by a web crawler known as AppleBot, which indexes the Internet and provides search results without the need for third parties. Therefore, services from Google and Bing are no longer required, which could pave the way for Apple to become a legitimate search engine in its own right.

Another thing working in Apple’s favour is the meteoric rise of mobile activity online. Google recently acknowledged that mobile search volumes are eclipsing desktop in various countries around the world, which plays right into the hands of Apple’s various smartphone and tablet offerings.

Future Search predictions

In addition to the team it has assembled from Topsy, Apple is actively looking for even more search-based staff, which could be an indication of future activity. Currently, there are job openings in infrastructure operations and data sciences as well as for location-based online search specialists.

Job listings have read: “Apple’s new Spotlight Suggestions service provides fast, relevant search results from the Internet in Spotlight and Safari on iOS and OS X. The Spotlight Suggestions service is built on massive amount of data crawled from the Internet, sourced from feeds and generated from user interactions with search results.”

Even though this is sure to increase Apple’s incredible influence, it could come in for regulatory scrutiny and tarnish relations with Google, which has been the default search engine for iOS and OS X for many years.

Google is already struggling to maintain its share of mobile ad spending thanks to the power of Facebook and yet another dent in the search engine giant’s mobile footprint could be devastating.

As for Apple, it seems like software and services are quickly becoming top priority as opposed to solely concentrating on hardware sales.

Is a new Apple flavoured online search behemoth now emerging?

At MintCandy we are watching these new developments at Apple Inc. with a very keen interest. If things work out as we think they will, then we are seeing the early stages in the development of a bona fide competitor to Google in Search, which we think would be a good thing for transparency online.

Competition is good for consumers, good for the internet and, in the end, good for business because no one Search Engine behemoth will be able to maintain a monopolistic position above all others. This will provide everyone with choice in efficient Search providers, something that has been lacking for some time!

As new evidence comes to light in the rapidly developing world of Apples Spotlight search functionality we will report back, watch this space because we know that these are exciting times!

Is Search about to broaden its horizons?

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