Speculation about plans for an Apple search engine to compete with Google has been around for many years now, ever since the company was first seen to be using its own web crawler back in 2014. Apple confirmed the existence of the Applebot crawler in 2015.
A report in the Financial Times claims that Apple is now ‘stepping up’ efforts to create its own search engine as its lucrative deal with Google comes under threat …
Google currently pays Apple an estimated $8-12 billion per year to be the default search engine on iOS devices. In 2018, for example, the sum was estimated at a little under $10 billion – around 20% of the company’s Services income for the year. However, antitrust regulators are now putting this deal in the spotlight, and arguing that it may be anticompetitive.
This raises the question of what Apple would do if it was banned from renewing the deal, and lost that income. One suggestion that has been that the iPhone maker could create an Apple search engine.
The FT report cites circumstantial evidence and industry commentary, rather than inside sources, and not much of it is new. It opens, for example, with a change seen in iOS 14 to the swipe-down search box.
Apple is stepping up efforts to develop its own search technology as US antitrust authorities threaten multibillion-dollar payments that Google makes to secure prime placement of its engine on the iPhone.
In a little-noticed change to the latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen.
That web search capability marks an important advance in Apple’s in-house development and could form the foundation of a fuller attack on Google, according to several people in the industry.
It also points to the two-and-a-half year old news of Apple poaching Google’s John Giannandrea, putting its own spin on the hire.
Apple poached Google’s head of search, John Giannandrea. The hire was ostensibly to boost its artificial intelligence capabilities and its Siri virtual assistant, but also brought eight years of experience running the world’s most popular search engine.
It includes commentary from former senior Google execs, but this too is purely speculative.
“They [Apple] have a credible team that I think has the experience and the depth, if they wanted to, to build a more general search engine,” said Bill Coughran, Google’s former engineering chief, who is now a partner at Silicon Valley investor Sequoia Capital […]
“Apple’s position is very unique because it has the iPhone and iOS. It controls the default browser,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Neeva’s co-founder and Google’s former head of advertising. Expanding in search “feels natural” for Apple, he said, as it has the ability to gather data and learn from user behaviour at large scale.
Applebot’s crawl rate – the number of times it visits websites in order to update its database – is said to have increased substantially. Others note that Apple is one of the few companies in the world with the resources to create a search engine to compete with Google.
But all of the known facts would be consistent with Apple simply working on making Siri smarter.
The single biggest argument against Apple creating a search engine is the company’s strong privacy stance, and its less-than-flattering commentary on ad-funded services like Google.
A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.
Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.
Walking that back would be problematic to say the least.
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Black Friday tablet deals: iPad Pro, Galaxy Tab S7, and more – ZDNet
Black Friday 2020 is here, and with it, you can expect a range of tablet deals to appear.
From Samsung Galaxy tablets to Apple iPads, over the course of the shopping event — no longer just a one-day shopping spree, and now closer to a week-long promotion — US retailers will be competing for business by offering decent discounts on these mobile devices.
Tablets can be suitable for a variety of purposes; from checking your email on the road to saving and sharing presentations, reading, accessing mobile apps, streaming content, and more. Whether or not you want a tablet as a gift, for entertainment, work, or as a slimline device for accessing the Internet, it is worth keeping an eye on tablet sales over Black Friday this year.
Below, ZDNet has compiled a list of the best tablet deals on offer. As some deals finish and other, time-sensitive deals expire, we will continue to update — so make sure to come back and check.
Over at Best Buy, you can pick up an 11-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 tablet with a $100 discount. This tablet comes with 126GB storage, 6GB RAM, an 8MP front-facing camera, a 13MP rear camera, and an accompanying S-Pen stylus.
Microsoft is also involved in this year’s shopping season, and an offering of note is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and Pro Type cover bundle. The company is offering $200 off basic bundles including a Surface Pro 7 tablet ( Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage), as well as discounts off premium models.
If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced Samsung tablet in the Black Friday sales, Best Buy is offering a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite with a $100 discount. This Android tablet comes with a 10.4-inch display, 64GB storage, 4GB RAM, and both a 5MP front and 8MP rear camera.
On eBay’s marketplace, you can pick up an Apple iPad Pro for a substantial discount. While this deal may not be around long, for now, these 2018 devices are on offer with 11-inch screens, 256GB storage, and 4GB RAM.
More Black Friday 2020 deals
Here are some other noteworthy deals worth checking out:
Work smarter, not harder, with Logitech Slim Folio Pro for 11-inch iPad Pro, on sale now – iMore
Have an 11-inch iPad Pro (2018) and looking for a fantastic keyboard case to go with it? You know, because it’s actually possible to work smarter, not harder, from your iPad Pro, which many people would consider a somewhat viable laptop replacement. Right now, you can grab the Logitech Slim Folio Pro for 11-inch iPad Pro for just $75.98 right now on Amazon for Black Friday. Our own Lory Gil gave the Logitech Slim Folio Pro 5-stars in her review last year, so you know it’s good.
While a lot of us use our iPads as consumption devices, there are quite a few who enjoy using the 11-inch iPad Pro as a work machine. When you add in a keyboard case, I mean, it’s pretty much a laptop replacement, for the most part. And speaking from experience, one of the best options out there for iPad keyboard cases is Logitech, hands-down — I absolutely love my Logitech Folio Touch for 11-inch iPad Pro (2020) even more so than my Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad! But if you don’t need the trackpad, then the Slim Folio Pro is also a great (and cheaper) alternative.
With the Slim Folio Pro, you are getting a durable and protective shell for your iPad. The rubberized bumpers that wrap around your iPad will keep it safe and secure, and protect it from everyday bumps and scratches. Overall, the case is nice and soft thanks to the silicone material, and it’s very lightweight, so it doesn’t add much bulk.
The keyboard itself has chiclet keys that feel similar to what you get on MacBooks, and the keys are backlit so you can type away, day or night. Logitech even includes a function key row so you have quick access to common actions, like Home, volume control and playback, adjust brightness, and more. The folio-style back lets you put your iPad Pro into one of three different viewing angles, so you can make it work for whatever situation you’re in.
If you’re using an Apple Pencil, attach it to your iPad with the open space at the top. There is a magnetic latch to keep the case closed and your Apple Pencil safe.
The biggest difference between the Slim Folio Pro and the Folio Touch is the trackpad. But if you don’t need that, then the Slim Folio Pro is a great choice to pick up, especially at this low price.
More Black Friday deals:
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Here are the free games hitting PlayStation Plus in December 2020 – MobileSyrup
Every month, Sony offers a few PlayStation 4 games at no additional cost to those subscribed to its PlayStation Plus service.
Now, the company has revealed what free titles are hitting the service in December 2020.
From Tuesday, December 1st until Monday, January 4th, PS Plus subscribers will be able to download Worms Rumble, Just Cause 4 and Rocket Arena for free.
It’s worth noting that Worms Rumble is launching on PS5 and PS4 on December 1st, meaning it will be available for free on both platforms via PS Plus on day one. Meanwhile, Just Cause 4 and Rocket Arena are PS4 titles that can be played on PS5 via backward compatibility.
Outside of free games, Sony has confirmed that non-PlayStation Plus subscribers can take advantage of a free multiplayer weekend between December 19th at midnight (local time) to December 20th at 11:59pm (local time).
Image credit: Team17
Black Friday tablet deals: iPad Pro, Galaxy Tab S7, and more – ZDNet
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