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Apple plans to upgrade the App Store’s search engine, and it might not stop there

Apple plans to upgrade the App Store’s search engine, and it might not stop there


Bloomberg reports how Apple’s work on search and generative AI could create a Google competitor.

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An illustration of the Apple logo.
Illustration: The Verge

Apple will soon bring its powerful internal search engine to the App Store and other apps, as Mark Gurman reports in this week’s Power On newsletter for Bloomberg. Apple debuted upgrades to its Spotlight search feature in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, letting users search there for web results, details from apps, documents, and much more.

According to the newsletter, former Google executive John Giannandrea’s search team is working to bake the internally-named “Pegasus” search engine more deeply into iOS and macOS and could even use generative AI tools to enhance it further. Last year Apple also launched Business Connect, a tool that helped strengthen its information database with details about businesses’ hours and locations in a way that could help it compete with Google.

Gurman points out that although Apple’s Spotlight and app search engine isn’t as powerful as Google’s, it has a robust App Store ads business that serves ads to its other apps, like Apple News and Weather. Those things combined give Apple enough pieces to launch its own search engine, perhaps sooner rather than later.

Whether Apple will do that is another question. Apple executive Eddy Cue has said before that Apple doesn’t need to make its own search engine, and the company reportedly turned down an offer to buy Bing in 2020.