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Apple enters the search arena with the Applebot search engine
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Apple enters the search arena with the Applebot search engine

by AshwinMay 8, 2015

Apple has launched a service that could put it on the map with the likes of Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo Search.

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Yes, the Cupertino company has launched its own search engine and service.

It is called Applebot. Bots is short for Robots, and is a common term given to search engine’s web crawlers, which ranks web pages, and displays them on the search results. Surely you don’t need a description about how Google works, do you?

Ironically though the name Applebot, sounds very similar to Google’s Android which is also a name for robot. Apple is reportedly using the Applebot web crawler for two of its products: Siri, the personal digital assistant on iOS devices, and on Spotlight, a system-wide search engine for iOS and Mac OS X.

SearchEngineLand reports that Apple has posted a help page for Applebot. Here is what it says:

Applebot is the web crawler for Apple, used by products including Siri and Spotlight Suggestions.

The user-agent will follow the string:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_1) AppleWebKit/600.2.5 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0.2 Safari/600.2.5 (Applebot/0.1)

Applebot originates in the 17.0.0.0 net block, and respects the robots.txt rules and robot meta tags. If robots.txt don’t mention Applebot, it will follow the instructions set for Googlebot.

So, it is only used for searching files in a system, why are we calling it a search engine?

Well, Apple Insider reports that the Cupertino company is “rapidly-expanding internal search group” for building its own web search engine using Spotlight. Google beware!

How this could impact Google and other search engines?

It is not clear if Applebot will be a website based search engine or whether it will be exclusive to the company’s devices.

Let us assume the following scenario to analyze the situation:

Apple’s iOS devices are amongst the most popular smart devices in the World. We should also take into consideration Apple’s Mac devices too. If the Applebot search engine is released for those devices, millions and millions of users could be using the search engine. In other words, other search engines will be losing a huge percentage of users.

Losing users means losing revenue too. All this translates in a positive way for Apple, which could strike gold in the search arena with Applebot.

It is not surprising that Apple is integrating a search engine with Siri, and Spotlight. It’s biggest rivals Microsoft and Google have their search engines embedded in to their personal digital assistants: Microsoft Bing in Cortana, and Google Search in Google Now, respectively.

By ensuring that it stays in the battle, Apple could prevent users from switching to it’s rival platforms, whilst also satisfying the needs of its users.

Of course it all depends on how the Cupertino company plans to use the Applebot search engine, and it’s availability across devices.

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