Apple is working on an online search engine to compete with Google as part of broader Spotlight search improvements, according to a recent report of information.

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The report explains that Apple’s work on search technology is facing setbacks amid a loss of talent to Google. In 2018, Apple sought to strengthen the development of its own web search engine by buy laserlike machine learning startup, which was founded by three former Google search engineers. The company’s technology recommends websites based on user interests and browsing history. Now the founders of Laserlike are said to have returned to Google.

Apple’s research team is believed to have at least 200 employees and power the technology behind Spotlight, Siri Suggestions and answers provided by ‌Siri‌. The team is still at least four years away from launching an outright replacement for Google Search, according to a person involved with the team speaking to information. While Google pays Apple around $15 billion per year to remain the default search engine on Apple devices, as Apple developing an internal rival to Google Search could increase its leverage in its periodic negotiations with Google over the deal.

Meanwhile, Apple has apparently been discussing using the technology it’s built to power the search for Apple Music and the App store. Apple currently uses this search technology to generate data for Apple teams developing apps that use natural language processing, such as the Translate app, and to use tweets to determine newsworthy events that should appear in the results and recommend Apple News articles – but it may be used more widely in the future. One of the research team’s immediate priorities would be to improve Spotlight so that it can handle “100 times more” queries than it does today.

The idea of ​​an Apple search engine has been speculated since at least 2015, when Apple first confirmed its Applebot and posted a series of research-related job postingsand rumors surrounding the possible launch of the service resurfaced periodically.

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