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(Pocket-lint) - Could Apple one day take Google's throne as the king of search? Maybe. The Cupertino company has been "stepping up efforts" to develop a rival to Google Search, according to a new paywalled Financial Times report.

Since iOS 14 released, Apple has begun to show web search results and links to sites when users search from the iPhone or iPad home screen, which has fueled speculation that Apple is interested in developing its own search technology. Some industry insiders take it as evidence that Apple is advancing its search capabilities and may one day mount a full-on attack on Google.

For instance, as the Financial Times' report noted, Apple hired John Giannandrea, Google's former head of search, two years ago to bolster Siri as well as its artificial intelligence capabilities. Apparently, Apple has "frequent" job advertisements for search engineers, too, which is again indicative of its search goals. Applebot, Apple's web crawler, has even had a spike in activity.

Ultimately, however, the report doesn't provide too many additional details and appears to be fanning the rumour-mill flames. Mind you, the Justice Department also filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google last week. It asserts the company maintains an unlawful search and ad monopoly.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman.