The flower petal search started as a workaround for Huawei customers to find and install apps when Google services like the Play Store are not available. But it quickly becomes a much bigger project. By scouring the web for official APKs, Huawei has learned a lot about crawling and indexing websites, so it extends Petal Search to act a lot more like a general search engine. Huawei’s ban on using Google only appears to have led the company to fill in the loopholes itself.
Petal Search now supports news, image and video, shopping and flight searches right from the search bar, at least for some users. The company also announced a number of key search partners at the Huawei Developer Conference. These partners span four major search categories: news, shopping, local businesses, and travel. Companies can embed their results in the petal search through a growing number of APIs.
Huawei, like other search providers, relies on partners to produce aggregated results. This includes direct feeds for shopping results or real-time data streams such as flight seats and price information via plug-in APIs. Involving regional partners on board is also critical to delivering local industry listings.
Huawei is already using its own crawling and indexing engine to get results in Spain and Turkey. The company therefore has the ability to act as a real Google or Bing rival – at least on mobile devices. Petal Search is still dependent on other search engine partners in other countries, but plans to introduce its own service gradually. There’s no timeline yet as Huawei says quality comes first and partners in different regions will continue to be deployed if their services produce the best results.
You are not alone when these operating system and intelligent assistant integration features sound ripe. Petal Search already has some entry points into Huawei’s EMUI Android software. For example, EMUI 11’s pull-down web search integrates petal search so you don’t have to use the app or the widget for the search bar. Huawei wants to continue building integrations with its Celia assistant in the future, but has not yet given a timeframe.
Petal Search is only four months old, but it has quickly evolved from a stopgap solution to an increasingly functioning general search engine. There is still a long way to go before Huawei has a search powerful enough to rival Google’s, but the basics are in place. If you get the chance to play with the new petal search features, let us know what you think in the comments below.
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