For several years now, Apple has been working on creating a search engine to compete with Google. But it seems unlikely that this system will become a reality in the next few years, especially since the key people working on it have moved to Google.
According to The Information, the three employees who quit were the founders of a startup called Laserlike. This service suggested Web sites to users based on their interests and what Web sites they typically visit. Prior to founding Laserlike, all three worked at Google Search.
In 2018, Apple acquired Laserlike to improve the search features of Siri Suggestions and Spotlight apps. Laserlike co-founder Srinivasan Venkatachary took on the role of senior director of Apple's search development group (which has at least 200 employees). At Apple, he reported directly to the company's Vice President of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, John Giannandrea, who also previously worked at Google. Venkatachary also hired several other former Google Search employees to join his team.
Along with the other co-founders of Laserlike, Venkatachary returned to Google. Today, he serves as Google's vice president of engineering under James Manica, the company's senior vice president of technology. Laserlike co-founders Steven Baker and Anand Shukla are also part of that team.
It is not yet known whether Apple plans to release a replacement for Google's search engine. According to experts, it will happen not earlier than in four years. Moreover, the company will likely have to increase the budget for this project and the team that will work on it.
Meanwhile, Apple doesn't have its own search engine; it uses Google's search engine, which pays Apple $18 billion to $20 billion a year to remain the search engine for iPhones and iPads by default.
According to some experts, Apple could sign a deal with Microsoft Bing, which now has a relatively small share of the search engine market.