Apple needs a search engine" ongoing
The billions of dollars Google pays Apple annually to be the default search option is probably the easiest money Apple makes. It's true that it's easy money, but maybe 15 or 20 years ago I was involved in a study of Google's business model, which was pretty simple back then (compared to today). A big part of the revenue stream was a share of the ad revenue for every single query through the engine, whether clicked or not. Whatever you searched for, Google would serve related ad links on the results page. As the internet has grown, business has grown with it, even with regulatory oversight and restrictions that didn't really exist back then.
While it's easy money for Apple, having a search engine under the Apple brand has huge potential. We must not forget, however, that the secret to Google's success was not just the ad placement, but the algorithm behind it all. That matching is not impossible, but they have a lot of accumulated knowledge to work on. Since Google's search results are steadily declining in quality, I'd love to have a better alternative, whether it's from Apple or not. We take Maps as an example of the difficult time Apple has had, both publicly and privately, catching up to Google's seven-year lead in that product. Would the company want to repeat that with a search engine? Would it have the ROI needed to make it worth it? Does Search and Mapping Help Apple Sell More Devices? To some extent would that justify the investment?
To me, a bigger missed opportunity was that we didn't treat the IoT sphere more seriously. That's right in Apple's wheelhouse, making quality hardware work with good software, integrated into their ecosystem. Apple had a big piece of the puzzle early on when it created HomeKit, but never followed it up with hardware to exploit that. It left that to third parties, who had a hard time making it work, within the rigid, privacy-focused constraints Apple had set. Some tried, but most never bothered, and the path to taking the house was made easier for Google and Amazon. Does not need to monetize his user data? Or, in the event of a bankruptcy, ensure that the data is sold to the highest bidder who is not obliged to handle it responsibly?
Imagine a doorbell camera from Apple that performs with convenience, reliability and privacy, integrated with iCloud. When someone rings my doorbell or activates motion detection, a seamless notification pops up on my Apple TV asking me to pause the show I was watching. If I wanted to ignore it, I could cue the recording and watch it after I'm done, right from iCloud or my Apple Home Hub. That's a UX I'd rather have than a search engine.
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