Petal Search, which started off as a workaround for Huawei users has now turned into a much bigger project. Reports suggest that although the service began as a replacement for unavailable Google services, the project now wishes to compete with the tech giant as reported by Android Authority.
Given all the issues Huawei is currently experiencing with regards to its mobile device production moving into this space might be a sensible move. One report suggested that in a worst-case scenario Huawei could stop making mobile phone all together due to sanctions. The company also faces a dearth for R&D talent as it struggles to recruit under current restrictions.
Therefore, an attempt to go big with the Petal Search service may prove to be one of the few avenues available Huawei. However, the suggestion that they would compete with Google is a lofty one at best.
Huawei's Petal Search set to go head-to-head with Google
Reports suggest that Huawei has plans to expand Petal Search to act more like a general search engine. This means expanding its scope from its previous limited operations.
It seems that the ban on Huawei using Google has spurred the company on. They now have the desire to fill the gaps left behind by expanding Petal Search as a genuine competitor.
As of now, Petal Search supports news, image and video, shopping, and flight searches directly from the search bar. Although this does not always work for all users.
The company also announced some key search partners at the Huawei Developer Conference. These span four categories which are news, shopping, local businesses, and travel.
This means companies can now plug their results into Petal Search. They will do so using an ever-growing set of APIs.
Huawei will rely on these search partners to provide aggregated results like all other search providers. This allows them to provide direct feeds on things like shopping results or real-time data streams such as flight seats. Regional partners are also key to this in order to provide local results.
Huawei plans global roll out of its own service
The company currently operates this engine in Spain and Turkey so has the capability to be a genuine rival to Google there. In other countries, Petal Search still relies on search engine partners in other countries. However, it has plans to its own service.
There is currently no official timeline for this worldwide roll out. However, Huawei says it will come over time. Given the platform is only four months old this sort of growth is very impressive.
The service is clearly a long way off genuinely being a competitor for Google or Bing for example. However, it does appear that the platform and foundation is there to make something powerful enough to rival the big boys at some stage in the future.