Apple has quietly increased its efforts to develop its own search technology for iPhones, according to a report by the Financial Times.
iPhone users with the latest Apple operating system, iOS14, now get internet search results from Apple's engine as a default instead of Google's.
The move by Apple, Cupertino, Calif., comes as U.S. regulators are currently scrutinizing the $8 billion to $12 billion Google pays annually to make its search engine the default on numerous devices.
Apple's web crawler, Applebot, which automatically visits million of web pages to improve search engine results, has increased its activity in recent weeks, according to the FT.
Apple has a big job ahead of it if it wants to compete with Google, which is reportedly used 1.2 trillion times per year worldwide.
Just last week, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Google, alleging antitrust violations, following a 16-month investigation into the practices of big tech. The agency alleges that Google, Mountain View, Calif., is abusing its market position to stifle competition.
Part of that investigation includes the multibillion-dollar deal Apple has with Google to ensure its search engine remains the default on the iPhone.
Apple shares at last check were down 1.5% to $114.91 while Google fell 1.8% to $1,569.40.