Apple iOS developers report changes to App Store search results


Multiple iOS developers are reporting changes to application search results generated by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store, suggesting the computing giant is emphasizing metrics like relevancy and user ratings over names and keywords.  

Ben Sann, founder of, tells TechCrunch that the firm's free garage finder app now tops multiple App Store searches including "Chicago parking," "DC parking," and "SF parking", in all cases ranking ahead of apps that more closely match the respective query. Sann theorizes that Apple is placing a greater premium on download volumes, recommending BestParking ahead of other parking apps with fewer installs.

Matthäus Krzykowski, co-founder of app search and data firm Xyologic, speculates that Apple has been factoring download volumes into its rankings for some time, and is now improving topic detection algorithms to deliver more relevant results. For example, the App Store now responds to a keyword search like "gas" by suggesting location-enabled gas station finder tools or gas pricing comparison services instead of racing-themed games or novelty apps. Xyologic also believes the App Store is relying on indicators like user ratings and comments to deliver improved search results.

In April, 9to5Mac reported that Apple is working on a revamped App Store bolstered by content discovery technologies created by Chomp, which the company acquired in February 2012. Sources say that Apple purchased Chomp to overhaul user discovery on both mobile devices and the desktop, integrating the Chomp team into an Apple unit dedicated to improving how consumers target and purchase digital content.

The free Chomp app, which is still available as a standalone service for Apple's iOS, leverages a proprietary algorithm that learns the functions and topics of apps to enable users to conduct app store search queries based on function and utility, not brand name. Consumers can search Chomp for subjects like "puzzle games," "expense trackers" or "chat" to identify the solutions they wish to download.

The App Store now offers more than 650,000 iOS apps, including 225,000 optimized for Apple's iPad tablet. Consumers have now downloaded more than 30 billion apps in all, with developer payouts exceeding $5 billion.

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