Forget about Apple’s thermonuclear war against Android. Apple’s real target is Google’s search revenue.

Among the updates Apple announced today were updates to Spotlight1 I can’t help but think that Apple has begun to show its hand on how it will attack Google.

Apple states Spotlight will now automatically provide results across your files, Wikipedia, iTunes Store, movie showtimes, maps, currency and unit conversion, your apps, and news. View this gallery to see how the results are shown.

Recently Google received a lot of heat for changes it made to developer builds of the Chrome web browser. Google removed the the url from the top bar. Many suggested that Google was testing this tweak because this is how people use the internet anyway. They open their browser and type a search into Google; Google is most people’s gateway to the web.2 Google was in effect seeing if they could add one more layer of abstraction on top of the internet so that Google would likely be the only way to the rest of the web.

I can not help but think that Apple is doing a similar thing, but Google is the target. Apple is uniquely positioned to harass Google’s near search monopoly.3 Because Apple is in complete control of their platform they are able to integrate different services into their search. iOS already benefits from a variety of data sources; iOS gets sports data from Yahoo!, mathematical computations from WolframAlpha.

It appears that much of the search results from Spotlight will not come from Google. I imagine this trend will continue. Apple already encourages users to bypass Google by using Siri to perform searches. Look for Apple to slowly and methodically exclude Google where it can on Apple devices. Users will not care who provides the data just as long as it is fast and accurate, and Apple’s silent war against Google will continue.

Update: And even if Google does provide some of the search data, there will be no ads or sponsored results.

Update 2: Bing is the search engine used for Spotlight search on the Mac.

Is Apple targeting Google with its iOS and OSX updates?

  1. Spotlight is the universal search tool on OSX and iOS. Using “Command+Space” will bring up the search field from where ever you are or whatever you are doing on the Mac and Swiping down from the center of your home screen will do the same on iOS.

  2. This is obviously problematic because Google controls their search algorithms. Just ask MetaFilter.

  3. Microsoft has improved Bing quite a bit, but I wonder if they are still afraid of anti-trust allegations; that type of fear could prevent Microsoft from placing their search engine in too prominent a position.

Tagged on: