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Apple search would be Google’s ‘get out of jail free’ card

Sooner rather than later,” as the rumour goes, Apple will release its own search engine. Customers benefit from the healthy rivalry between Apple and Google since it encourages the investment of additional resources into making search even better. However, Google also benefits from this situation in one respect, namely in its fight with regulators.

Thanks to the businesses it has bought out since 2013, we know Apple is working to improve its search offerings. Laserlike utilises AI to cruise the web and develop a database, while technology from Topsy Labs already enables particular inquiries via Siri or Apple’s Spotlight search on the Mac. Apple should absolutely create its own search engine.

The most apparent downside is that Google will no longer get payment for having Google Search set as the default on every iOS device. That’s a big sum of money, said to be between $8 billion and $12 billion. If Apple chooses to develop Apple Search, I’ll think the company is prepared to incur such losses.

One less apparent consequence is that Google is no longer considered to have a “almost monopoly” by authorities in at least one market: search. Also, that’s a very major issue.

You can find Google just about wherever now

You North Americans may be blissfully unaware of Google’s substantial lead in the market for operating systems and other software designed for use with Internet-connected gadgets. In contrast to North America, where Apple and Samsung both own over half of the mobile device industry, Google controls almost 80% of the market globally. However, Google’s software, including email, photos, maps, and search, is included on devices that do not use Android.

This is something that regulators are well aware of, and it comes up often when they are doing their jobs and protecting consumers rather than corporate interests. As a result, Google is under more pressure than ever before to implement reforms that governments insist are in the public interest.

When something occurs properly and for the appropriate reasons, it is wonderful. This is why Google provides additional options for managing our location history and ad targeting. This is why Google needs to be cooperative with other ad networks, particularly in regards to organic search results.

Inversely, this is also true. When people speak about Google’s monopoly, they often compare it to Apple’s control freakery with the iPhone and iPad. Apple’s way or the highway, and legislators could care less.

This is because Apple lacks Google’s massive market share advantage, allowing Google to get away with far more rubbish and unpleasant practises, because there is a clear alternative option for everyone who dislikes it. And it mostly works; the iPhone has a lot going for it, but I won’t use one because I don’t agree with a few of Apple’s restrictions on how I may use it. In order to break and repair anything I want to break and fix, I utilise an Android phone.

When it comes to searches conducted via a mobile device, Google is really dominant. Every Android phone, iPhone, and tablet has Google Search installed by default. I would guess that Google has about 90% of the market share when it comes to mobile search, despite the fact that you may alter that default if you so want. This isn’t acceptable to regulators, so they’re taking baby steps to make it clear that there are alternatives and make it simple to switch to one of them. If Google is accused of having an actual monopoly in mobile search, it has no defence.

If Apple Search were installed on all 1.5 billion mobile devices, Google could point to the increased competition and say, “look at all this competition!” the next time it was called to account by legislators for its allegedly unfair search methods. Truer nowhere than in the United States and Canada, where iPhone ownership hovers around 50%.

No one at Google likes the concept, but the higher-ups are sure it won’t matter much anyhow. When it comes to a product like Maps, Apple’s first version won’t matter as much as Google’s already-established offering. Users will go back to Google for searching, just as they did with Maps, if Safari is set as the primary web browser.

This is terrible news for Google in the long run if Apple is willing to put in the resources necessary to compete. Apple’s search engine will eventually be good enough for the vast majority of users, and Google will lose billions of users as a result. That is now being played out with Maps.

My hope is that Apple will develop a competing search engine to put pressure on Google. I’m crossing my fingers that it improves search results and privacy without compromising either. Since Google is no longer the only game in town, this would allow it to get away with a bit more for the time being.