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Apple ramps up Google Search competitor as US antitrust case looms

Apple is “stepping up” its efforts to build a search engine, amid a US government investigation that has placed a deal to use Google’s engine on iPhones under threat.

According to the Financial Times the recent release of Apple’s new iPhone software, iOS 14, includes a limited Apple search engine that handles web queries made through the new Today View screen.

Apple’s web crawler, Applebot, has also increased its activity in recent weeks. Crawlers like Applebot automatically visit millions of web pages as they seek to build up a comprehensive map of the internet in order to improve search engine results.

Apple has started linking directly to websites through its own search function on iPhone.

Apple has started linking directly to websites through its own search function on iPhone.Credit:Tim Biggs

The changes point to efforts by the iPhone-maker to build a rival to Google’s search engine, which is used around 1.2 trillion times per year worldwide. The FT also highlights the fact that John Giannandrea, Google’s head of search, was hired by Apple in 2018 and runs Apple’s machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy.

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