Considering the size of Apple’s App Store, it’s pretty surprising that the search algorithm returns so much junk when searching for your favourite apps by name. Finding what you’re looking for on the store seems to get more difficult by the day.
Apple was recently caught in the act of testing some new App Store functionality on the fly earlier this week. It looks like “Related” keyword recommendations are about to be made on the fly the next time you start searching for applications using buzzwords like “feed reader” or “calendar app.” It’s not entirely live at the moment, but it has been kicking around long enough that we can assume an update is approaching rather quickly.
The functionality works exactly like you would assume. You can scroll through the suggestions, tap on them, and then the App Store will return a brand new set of results based on the new search term.
While the functionality helps you find more apps, the question is out on whether or not it will actually will help you find more “good” apps. Developers are gaming the App Store search rankings in the same way websites game Google for search ranking. More often than not crappy applications show up in your search unless you’re searching for an app by name.
Apple’s been buying up companies that have developed better searching technologies than what it currently has in place. Chomp is a good example of a third party solution that is now owned by Apple. It was a far better experience than the official App Store.
These new developments could be the first of a long line of tweaks coming to the App Store for iOS. We’re hoping that a significant overhaul is on the horizon with iOS 8. It’s time.
Heck, I’d prefer if Apple changed the related searches to links to their curated pages based on the queries people enter in the search field. I’d rather know what Apple recommends as a top GTD app when searching as opposed to what a computer interprets the best app to be based on developer jockeying in the rankings.