The Information reports that Apple is working to enhance Spotlight search but is still years away from releasing a search engine to compete with Google. There is a paywall behind this study that describes how Apple’s search technology has taken a hit due to the company losing employees to Google.
In 2018, Apple purchased Laserlike, a machine learning firm formed by three ex-Google search employees, in an effort to accelerate the development of a web search engine. The company’s software provided suggestions for sites to visit depending on the user’s preferences and previous activity.
Now, it seems that the creators of Laserlike have gone back to Google. The search technology powering Spotlight, Siri Suggestions, and responses delivered by Siri is managed by Apple‘s search team, which is rumored to number around 200 people. One member of the team told The Information that the company still has at least four years to go before it launches a competitor to Google Search.
Apple’s influence in future negotiations with Google over the arrangement may be increased if the company developed a search engine to compete with Google’s, despite Google paying Apple approximately $15 billion annually to remain the default search engine on Apple products. Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly considering implementing the tech to power Apple Music and App Store searches.
On Twitter, Tweets are used to determine newsworthy events that should show up in results and propose Apple News articles, and the search technology is also used to produce data for Apple teams developing apps that use natural language processing, such as the Translate app. Increasing Spotlight’s capacity to process “100 times more” queries than it can currently is stated to be one of the team’s top priorities.