Apple is really, really good at some things and really, really bad at others. Every company obviously has strengths and weaknesses, but Apple’s seem to be further apart on the spectrum than most companies. And somewhere on the opposite side of that spectrum from “building gorgeous smartphones” lies “App Store search,” a crucial app discovery feature that, quite frankly, couldn’t be any worse than it is right now. You can literally search for some apps by name and not find them anywhere in your results.
Well, Apple is finally starting to take its App Store search problem more seriously according to a new report, and it may have found a way to boost its services revenue in the process.
Apple’s App Store was a game-changer for the mobile industry. Apple didn’t invent the concept of a third-party app portal, but by managing it closely and moving onto the device itself, Apple made apps a central part of the smartphone experience.
App discovery, however, has always been a serious problem.
Right now people have a few common ways they discover apps, with social media and the press or blogs being at the top of the list. That’s why we have an ongoing series on paid apps that go on sale for free, for example. The home page of the App Store is also a big one, but we’ve found that people rarely dig much further into the App Store itself because there isn’t anywhere useful to go.
So according to Bloomberg, Apple has assembled a team to help change that.
The news organization says that Apple has put together a team of about 100 people who have been tasked with exploring ways to improve the App Store. Among them, the team is considering sponsored search results similar to what Google has been doing for years with search. A developer would be able to pay to have its app appear at the top of results when users search for certain keywords or phrases.
This is just one part of a much larger effort, but paid search results could actually be a step in the right direction for Apple. It would increase the company’s services revenue, of course, but it could also help high-quality results surface higher than the low-quality apps that have overrun the App Store.