Apple is reportedly ramping up efforts to develop its own search engine technology as US antitrust authorities put Google’s market dominance under the spotlight.
In iOS 14, the company’s latest iPhone software, Apple now shows its own results when users type queries into the search bar on the home page.
The changes, which are likely to have gone unnoticed by many users, mark an important step forward in Apple’s in-house search development, the Financial Times reported.
The move may also signal the iPhone maker’s attempt to take on Google’s dominance in the search market.
The US Department of Justice last week filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the tech giant of using its market power to shut out rivals.
The suit estimates that Google pays Apple between $8bn (£6.2bn) and $12bn per year to be the default search engine on Apple products.
An in-house search capability would therefore give Apple an alternative if regulators block its tie-up with its fellow tech titan.
According to the report, last week’s Department of Justice lawsuit added urgency to the efforts.
Apple has bolstered its search engine efforts in recent years, poaching Google’s head of search in 2018.
John Giannandrea was hired to improve the iPhone’s Siri voice assistant, but also boasts eight years’ experience running Google’s search engine.