Apple has quietly added content to a support site detailing its first Web crawler. Called Applebot, the crawler was first spotted in November last year, but Apple waited until May 5 this year to officially talk about it (via AppleInsider).
According to the support document, AppleBot’s primary function is to serve Siri and Spotlight. Both services provide Web results, but until now we had assumed that Apple would be routing queries though Bing or Google.
AppleBot scans the Web for pages and information, which it adds to an index and notices when the pages change. Since AppleBot respects customary robots.txt rules, you can exclude it by updating your robots.txt file.
You may recall that Apple’s deal with Google was rumoured to be expiring sometime this summer. Google is the default search engine in iOS, but as the contract nears expiry, other players have been lining up to make their best bid to replace Google.
There have also been rumours about Apple building its own search engine: Back in February, Apple was looking for an engineering project manager for something called Apple Search.