Apple Reportedly Aims to Better Challenge Google on Maps, Search, and Ads

Apple is reportedly gearing up to enhance its maps, search, and ad services to better compete with Google. If Apple replaced Google Maps with its own Apple Maps app on iOS over 10 years ago, the Financial Times is reporting that Apple is looking into other ways to displace Google services on its devices.

Apple Maps launched in a pretty disastrous state back in 2012, forcing Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue an apology. In recent years, though, Apple Maps has become pretty solid and it lets iPhone users use augmented reality and indoor maps to find their way around. Apple also promises not to track which stores, clinics, or neighborhoods users visit.

Earlier this month, Apple also introduced Business Connect, a new feature that lets companies control how Apple Maps users see their business in the app and display limited-time offers and announcements to them. If Google Maps has been offering similar features, Apple’s Business Connect integrates with other Apple features such as Apple Pay and Business Chat, which isn’t something Google can replicate.

Apple Business Connect

On the search front, Google is reportedly paying Apple between $8 billion and $12 billion a year to be the default search engine on Apple’s Safari web browser on iOS. While this is a lucrative deal for Apple, the company has been working on an “Apple Search” alternative for years.

Apple’s Siri voice assistant already uses technology from Topsy Labs, a social search and analytics company that Apple acquired back in 2013. In 2019, Apple also acquired Laserlike, a machine-learning startup founded by an ex-Google employee.

It would obviously be quite difficult for Apple to create a better search engine than Google. Microsoft tried that with Bing with little success, but the Redmond giant is reportedly aiming to compete more seriously by integrating results from OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot into Bing search results.

As for online advertising, Apple also seems to have big ambitions in that field. Back in September, the company hired Keith Weisburg, a former Google, YouTube, and Amazon employee as the new group product manager of its Ad Platforms. As reported by the Financial Times, Apple mentioned in the job description that was seeking someone to “drive the design of the most privacy-forward, sophisticated demand side platform possible.”

Back in 2021, Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency feature on iOS, which required iOS apps to ask for users’ permission to track them across other apps and websites. The new rules have reportedly cost billions of dollars to companies like Meta and Google, but they also have benefited Apple’s online advertising business.

In September, an analysis of the online ad budgets of over 100 different consumer app companies from Appsumer showed that Apple has now “joined the duopoly of Facebook and Google at the top table of advertiser adoption.” In the analysis, Apple Search Ads adoption grew nearly four percentage points to 94.8% while Facebook’s share declined 3 percentage points to 82.8%.

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