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Apple’s efforts to build Google Search rival hit a big snag

Apple’s rumoured efforts to build a search engine that could one day rival Google is at least four years away from launching, according to a new report.

A report from The Information says former Google engineers who were leading the efforts at Apple have returned to the mothership, leaving the future of the project unclear.

The sources say the Google engineers who founded the AI news startup Laserlike, which was purchased by Apple in 2018, are working with Google once again.

Srinivasan Venkatachary, one of the co-founders, had been leading a team developing Spotlight and elements of Siri. He and the other co-founders have now left Apple, the report says.

Google pays Apple up to $20 billion a year in order to be the default provider on iOS and iPadOS, but it’s not clear how long that’s going to fly considering the antitrust scrutiny currently circling around the tech giants (via 9to5Mac). So, you can see why Apple would want to break free and set up its own search portal, but it’s easier said than done, the report says.

“Apple is still at least four years away from launching a potential Google search replacement, estimated the person who has been involved with the team. Doing so would undoubtedly require a significant increase in the team’s budget. Apple might also be able to strike a deal with Microsoft’s Bing that’s similar to the one Apple has with Google, as Bing has a relatively small share of the search market.”

The Information.

According to the report, Apple is still focused on creating “search capabilities that might compete head-on with Google’s,” but in the meantime, it may focus on enhancing in-house search of Apple Music and the App Store.

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