“Apple seeks a technical, driven and creative program manager to manage backend operations projects for a search platform supporting hundreds of millions of users,” reads the job descriptionfor a Apple Search Engineering Project Manager. “Play a part in revolutionizing how people use their computers and mobile devices.” As far as confirmations of new Apple services go, it doesn’t get more straightforward than that.
So the question isn’t “Is Apple making a search engine?” but rather what will Apple Search be? Presumably it will be the default search engine for future Apple products. After all, that’s what Google and Microsoft do and compared to them Apple is even more preoccupied with keeping users in a closed ecosystem. Google still makes most of its money through search and if it was willing to pay $1 billion to remain the default iOS search engine last year, that must be a pretty valuable space to be in. Plus, with Google’s search contract on Safari browsers expiring this year, Apple’s timing couldn’t be coincidental.
Services like Siri and Spotlight search on OS X Yosemite are already getting users accustomed to Apple-curated searches while also gathering the precious data that gives search engines their value. Meanwhile, recent hires like search expert William Stasior formerly of Amazon and AltaVista, along with discoveries like web-crawling bots on Apple servers, show that lots of behind-the-scenes work has already taken place.
But until a more official statement from Apple arrives, all we can do is guess what Apple Search will be and when it will be released. For all we know it might not even resemble a traditional search engine given how disruptive Apple likes to be. But if you really can’t wait find out, if you’re qualified, why not apply for the job?
Of course, we all remember the last time Apple tried to move in on a space Google had pretty much perfected. So let’s all just hope that whatever Apple Search is, it’s better than the Apple Maps disaster. It should probably be better than Bing too, but that’s not hard.