Apple might be working on its own search engine. According to a report, the Cupertino-based giant is moving quickly towards its own search engine to avoid getting in the middle of the upcoming anti-trust action being taken against Google by the US government. The first hint of Apple's search engine was the ability of iOS 14 to show Apple's own search results when using the home screen search box.
While Apple has not said anything on the matter, a report in Financial Times has suggested that the hiring of John Giannandrea, Google's former head of Search in 2018 could have been the starting point of the project. Apple will be able to improve Siri functionality as well with a dedicated search tool. Further, the report says that repeated job advertisements for search-related developers is a big giveaway. A report in XDA Developers said that those monitoring Applebot, the company's web crawler, have said that it has been more active in the recent months, and has advanced from simply serving Siri and Spotlight results.
Google currently pays Apple somewhere around $8 billion to $12 billion each year to be the default search engine on Apple's devices. This has caused trouble for Google in the anti-trust probe going on against the company. The US Department of Justice officials have said that the Apple-Google agreement is an example of anti-competitive and exclusionary practice by Google. Apple is aware of Google's troubles with the Department of Justice, and it only seems sensible that the company is being safe here, in case the anti-trust probes don't go Google's way.