Apple’s AI-Powered Search Could End Large $20B Payouts To Google

Apple’s AI-Powered Search Could End Huge $20B Payouts From Google

by , Staff Writer @lauriesullivan, May 3, 2024

Apple's AI-Powered Search Could End Large $20B Payouts To Google

Newly unsealed court documents on Thursday — during the closing arguments of the Google and the Department of Justice antitrust case — revealed that Google’s parent company Alphabet paid Apple $20 billion in 2022 for Google to remain the default search engine in the Safari browser. 

It’s estimated that nine out of every 10 web searches in the United States are made through Google, so the U.S. government wants a federal judge to rule that Google maintains that lead illegally by unfairly manipulating users to keep competitors down.

The major payout may not be necessary for long. Apple reportedly is testing what it calls Intelligent Search, a version of its Safari web browser that includes changes to its user interface (UI), with advanced content blocking, according to one report.

The feature, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), could debut in Safari 18 later this year. If the features end up in the latest system, the new user interface (UI) will have the ability to customize page controls, and have a “Web eraser” feature, and AI-driven content summarization tools, Apple Insider reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

Manual activation is required in the test build of the Safari 18 AI feature from the control menu.

The tool leverages Apple’s on-device AI technology to identify topics and key phrases in a webpage to summarize the data.

The report says that in selecting key phrases, Apple’s large language model (LLM) “software identifies sentences that provide explanations or describe the structure of objects, depending on the text in question. Words repeated within a text and key sentences are recognized as text topics.”

The report also explains Apple’s work on “much more powerful visual search feature scheduled for integration sometime in 2025.”

One feature will benefit brands. It will focus on allowing consumers to get information on products when browsing through images. The tool, per the report, will work similar to the Visual Lookup feature — the same way Siri can identify plants, pets and landmarks from photos.

It appears that Apple is counting on AI to supercharge search and shopping. Marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy are adding AI to their search bars. The Wall Street Journal says the technology has the potential to act like ChatGPT, only as a specialized version of a personal shopper. 

Etsy, earlier this year, launched Gift Mode, an AI-powered features allowing shoppers to click a few details about the person they are shopping for and in return, receive information about suitable products. 

A similar feature launched by ThredUp allows consumers to sift through more than 4 million secondhand items. The company had the capability to tag three to four attributes for search, but AI can tag hundreds. 

Apple is testing Intelligent Search, a version of its Safari web browser that includes changes to its user interface with advanced content blocking, according to a report. The feature, powered by AI, could debut in Safari 18 later this year.
 

(6)