It is no secret that Apple’s search results within its App Store for both the iOS and Mac do not always turn up the best results. In return, many hoped that Apple’s recent acquisition of app search engine Chomp, which revealed in February, would start leading to better results. That time may now be here.
TechCrunch reported earlier this afternoon that developers of popular, high quality apps with good ratings have seen better search results for their apps. This certainly makes it sound as if Chomp is behind the technical change. Chomp’s technology has been described to search for what apps can do, and not keywords and other buzzwords in an app’s description. Users are then able to get better search results with listings for high-quality, useful apps. You know—the good stuff.
It is certainly a hard thing to judge now, because search results are different from region-to-region. TechCrunch pointed out that the developer of the Best Parking app found his app jumped to the top of results recently, which is a place it has never been before (historically overshadowed by lower quality apps). For example, an app including “best parking” certainly does not look like it would be the top of an “sf parking” search. You would rather think an app that has “sf parking” in its title would be selected, but things seem to be changing for the better. The App Store now looks to be recognizing apps with more downloads and user reviews—like Best Parking (see screenshot below).
Just after TechCrunch first reported the acquisition of Chomp in February, we exclusively brought word that Chomp’s CTO Cathy Edwards already started working for Apple as a senior iTunes engineer. Meanwhile, CEO Ben Keighran had joined the iTunes marketing team. Not much long after the acquisition, Apple axed Chomp for Android. This suggested that the Chomp crew was beginning some heavy work at Apple. Is the crew’s work starting to show?
There is always the chance that Chomp’s technology is not being used, and this is rather Apple’s old-school development team doing its usual dandy work/code changes. The Chomp team could be working on far bigger things, but it is obviously not clear now.
Having the ability to search better on the App Store is definitely welcomed. Users want information quickly, and having to sift through several not-so-quality apps for a quality app does not really seem like part of Apple’s mission. It certainly looks to be something Apple would have changed sooner. Right now, the changes seem subtle in different parts of the App Store. The changes will most likely become clearer as time rolls on, however. Apple has not confirmed that Chomp’s technology is at work, but Apple seems to have started transitioning things for the better with these most recently noticed changes.
Screenshot via TechCrunch
Have any of you begun to notice a change in App Store search results?