Apple wants to challenge Google with a new search engine, can it do otherwise?

Apple wants to challenge Google with a new search engine, can it do otherwise?

An Apple search engine? This is not the first time this rumor has surfaced on the net. This time, it comes from Robert Scoble, famous glass hole in his spare time, augmented reality evangelist, investment advisor and, as such, someone featured here and beyond Silicon Valley.

Apple Search, to fight Google Search?

In a series of tweets in late May, he listed various information he had gathered from trusted people, without claiming that everything he said would be true.

Specifically, he indicated that, according to its sources, Apple’s virtual reality headsets will be introduced in January 2023, for a launch in June of the same year. Tim Cook’s computers would then reproduce the same pattern chosen for the iPhone in 2007.
But the most interesting information is in his latest tweet. Like a one more thing released at the last minute, Robert Scoble announces:

“Oh, and a new search engine is on its way, too.” Then add continuously: “Will Siri finally get smart?” »

Make the tip of the iceberg smart

This last sentence is especially interesting, because it is indeed one of the first questions. Although it learned to search for information on the web or in its music database, particularly for HomePod, Siri is far less advanced than its main competitors. And this is even more true in French when the question of language is added.

But ultimately, Siri is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the interface that serves to arrive at a sum of knowledge. However, this is where Google, in particular, is at the forefront. Work to enrich yours knowledge graph since its announcement almost ten years ago. This knowledge base is at the heart of Google’s search engine enrichment, but also the foundation of some of the most impressive demonstrations of conversational artificial intelligence that the Mountain View giant has introduced in recent years.

Google repeats this at every I / O, its job (and therefore its main know-how) is to gather information, format it so that it can be consulted on demand, or even offer it in a “predictive” way. “. .

So seeing Apple embark on developing a new search engine is certainly good news for Siri wizard users.


The end of domination?

If it is believed that Apple would consider making it a tool open to everyone, on the Internet – and nothing less secure – this can also be seen as an encouraging sign of a potential end of domination almost unquestioned (at least in the West) from Google. An alternative to the search engine could be more likely to win, if it has the support of a giant that has the means, because Google search is also, and perhaps above all, a big financial bet. Although we’ve seen that being a giant isn’t enough, Microsoft and Bing are a blatant illustration.

However, Microsoft does not have the deep knowledge of integration (sometimes outrageous and comparable to a lock) of Apple. Most importantly, it doesn’t carry the weight of an ecosystem carried by an ultra-present smartphone.

Given Apple’s past and present errors, this search engine shouldn’t be too closed. Nor should the failure to abandon Google Maps on iOS be repeated. The launch of Maps with Apple cartography was the result of some haste – partly imposed by Google, which rejected certain features at Apple, such as step-by-step navigation – and management errors, which we hope will not see again.

The basis for a new era of privacy protection

In addition, Apple would have a very important card to play if launched in search engines: the protection of privacy, which would involve a review of the economic model of search engines in the continuity of your efforts against online tracking.

A niche that is already occupied, with more or less happiness, by Qwant, in particular. But it would take on a whole new dimension, driven by a giant like Apple. Not only does it have the means, but this vision is completely in line with its industrial strategy – product and service design – and commercial.

However, the task will not be easy, of course. Google has been around since 1996, so to speak, although the project of young Sergey Brin and Larry Page was certainly far from what Google Search is today. Not to mention the habit of internet users, it will be necessary to achieve a sufficient level of quality in the answers, initially, to seduce users and divert them from Google.

Need to act … fast

Either way, whether the tool remains in the shadows, and only accessible by Siri or Spotlight, and if it is launched with fanfare to confront Google, another element will also force Apple to hurry. Since 2019, and things clearly accelerated last May, during the 2022 edition of the I / OGoogle has advanced its strategyenvironmental computing.

In a very schematic way, this ambition can be summed up in one sentence: to provide the right information everywhere, at all times, regardless of the device used. It is in the light of this vision of technological ubiquity that we must listen to Google’s recent efforts in the field of hardware, a strong point hitherto almost reserved for Apple.

Yes, pixels have been around since 2015, but things got especially serious with the introduction of the first internal Tensor chip in 2021, designed for Google devices and especially for services that rely heavily on machine learning algorithms.

With that in mind, the early announcement of a connected clock and tablet is just a sign that Google, the king of software, is now taking the hardware part that it has controlled and mastered well so far very seriously. The prototype / concept of connected glasses, intended for simultaneous translation, glimpsed at the end of Google I / O, is also proof that Google does not want to repeat the hardware errors of the past: the consequences have been drawn from the lost error. Google Glass and Sundar Pichai teams have a long-term vision of where they want to go.

Apple is doing exactly the opposite. He masters the material, increasingly controlling each of these components. However, it does not have the advanced science of AI, the gigantic accumulated and structured knowledge base, even if searches on Spotlight on Mac and Siri on iOS / iPadOS show that there is a promising “embryo”.

The future … of the future?

Apple needs to take steps to make tomorrow’s Apple services and devices as “smart” as Google’s. The beginnings of these efforts are already visible in Apple’s operating system, but much remains to be done to be able to translate conversations on the fly, to indicate where to find a restaurant that serves a dish seen in a magazine photo or in the web, etc.

Especially because many of these bricks of service and technology, useful on a Mac, very practical on an iPhone, will undoubtedly become essential when the time comes for the advent of mixed reality, which will merge, if the promise is fulfilled. , the real world and the digital world.

In this sense, and even if the search engine is in itself just a piece of a more complex puzzle, and whatever its final form, this “Apple Search” project is exciting. There are only a few days left to find out if he will be out of his labs for WWDC 2022!

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