Apple recently confirmed that it has its own web crawler called “Applebot” that scours the Web for search results when a user queries Siri or Spotlight. Developers had first noticed Applebot as early as last November, but the company hadn’t discussed it publicly. Recently, however, Apple published details on what Applebot is, and what it’s used for.
“Applebot is the web crawler for Apple, used by products including Siri and Spotlight Suggestions,” the company said. According to MacRumors, this signifies that Apple may be trying to compete in search with Bing and Google, which it has used in the past to power the search results culled by Siri and Spotlight.
Apple hasn’t ever confirmed plans to enter the search market, however, and Applebot doesn’t necessarily change that. The company still relies on Googlebot for some executions, for example, and it told developers to look for Googlebot support where Applebot isn’t recognized.
Google and Apple are still working out a new search deal. According to a report from CNBC last month, the current partnership is set to expire soon, and Apple may turn to a competitor such as Bing or Yahoo to power results. A job listing in February suggested Apple wants to create its own “Apple Search” engine, however, and Applebot might just be a sign that it won’t need partners in the future.