Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Is Apple About To Launch Apple Search?

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 5, 2008

Apple's iPhone is still lacking a search function, which is interesting because everything comes with search.

In my post July 2nd: "Searching For Search On the iPhone I wondered if it was deliberate:

Why would Apple leave out easy to use search functions? Does it think that users can find stuff more quickly through alphabatetized directories? It's clearly been left out on purpose, right?

It was fanciful speculation at the time, I actually thought it might have been left out in the rush to market. But there have been lots of software updates over the past 9 months and still no search function. It has to be deliberate.

Which makes perfect sense because clearly Apple is readying its own search engine. It has its own browser and having its own search site makes perfect sense.

The browser and search service are the operating system for our modern times. Apple is all about owning the OS.

Take a look:

1: The Apple fanboy market would leave Google in a heartbeat. No question. That's about 5 per cent of the computer market, and then let's count some of the iPod, iPhone users.

2: Recent tests have shown little or no difference in the quality of search results between search engines. Brand loyalty is the only thing bringing people back to Google.

Since search is now a brand-based business, who has one of the the top brands in the world? Apple.

Since search has become a brand-influenced market then Apple knows how to play in that market very well. It can easily carve out a search business for itself.

And that's why there is no search on the iPhone yet. When people start using the iPhone search they will naturally start using it on their laptops and desktops. It is a ready made market.

I can see Virgin, Nike, Gucci, and other branded search engines coming in the wake of Apple Search. It makes perfect sense.

UPDATED:

Take a look at this study, which shows the influence of brand:

Study: Good Brand Can Make Search Seem More Relevant

The study showed that when a searcher was given an identical result set across Google, Yahoo, Windows Live Search and an in house search engine, Google and Yahoo came out as more relevant. Why? Because of the brand of the search engine.

Despite the results pages being identical in content and presentation, participants indicated that Yahoo! and Google outperformed MSN Live Search and the in-house search engine.

http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id;229165979

Part 2 is here: Since There Is No Objective Way To Gauge Search . . . Brand Will Win

- - -

This is my second essay in the Saturday Post series.

Please see: Choking On The Long Tail - The Unbearable Burden

There is a legacy mountain of content and it's becoming a mountain range.

That means expanding your data storage systems, that means more power needed to drive those systems, it means administering the storage systems, which is people intensive, the data has to be made secure, the data has to be backed up. These are the exponential rising business costs of Long Tail economics.

As the number of long tail micro-markets increases, the less profitable each one becomes. This is because each long tail micro-market competes with an increasing number of other long tail micro markets.

More of any product or service means less revenue for that product or service. A current example: more housing on the market means a lower price for housing. Same thing applies in any market.

There is no way that increases in Internet traffic can keep pace with the growing number of long tail micro-markets.

The costs of hosting long tail micro-markets will continue to increase until they exceed the profits that can be made from them.

Choking On The Long Tail - The Unbearable Burden

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