Apple plan to allow access to their Spotlight API meaning app information can be indexed by Spotlight search for the very first time. The consequences of this will affect both Apple customers and internet search engines.
When iOS9 users make a search on Apple’s native feature, along with results on Google, they will be served with any content that is relevant to what they are looking for within the apps installed on their device. Essentially this means there will be less dependency on the search engines to provide results to searches;
users wont even have to visit the internet to find an answer to a query, should a solution already be available within an installed app.
Take for instance, if a user was to make a search through Spotlight for t-shirts. Rather than be taken to a SERP, they could be served with the category page for t-shirts within an eCommerce clothing app.
Apple are essentially removing a step from the research funnel. There’s a valid argument for whether this will improve Apple customers’ user experience or if it will be detrimental. On one hand, users will be able to gather information quicker and easier. But, on the other, this will not offer as much choice as a Google SERPs do and the results may be bias.
By creating this type of search engine, have Apple declared war on Google and other internet search engines? Not quite, but I do predict Google will experience a slight drop in mobile traffic from Apple products.
Worryingly for Google, if any other company were to realistically rival them when it comes to providing users with a truly personalised experience in search, it would be Apple who also have copious amounts of data at their disposal.
If Apple start to invest heavily in creating some sort of search engine, the search wars with Google that could follow could become something that resembles the digital equivalent of an epic Game of Thrones battle scene.
Google … winter is coming.