Apple has updated its App Store to improve search functionality.
It’s been reported this week that Apple quietly rolled out a new feature to iOS 7 devices in the form of a keyword upgrade.
Now, when users search for a specific word, other potentially useful search terms are listed to help users find what they’re after.
Tapping the suggested term opens up a new search for the specified keyword.
The App Store functionality is a contentious issue. The size of the platform has seen Apple struggle to personalize the experience for its users.
The update was first noticed by US users, while the UK and the majority of Europe reported no change.
TechCrunch, which reported on the story heard from Apple that a full rollout would happen over the “coming weeks”.
Just noticed “Related” search suggestions in App Store. Has it always been there? (iPhone only) pic.twitter.com/QDny04vNKs
— Olga Osadcha (@oosadcha) March 25, 2014
The update was first noted by Olga Osadcha on Twitter
Finding the needle in the haystack
The move has seen Apple take the first step to improving user experience.
With a ballooning App Store that now houses a million apps, the news will come as a big win to close followers of Apple who were disappointed with the acquisition and eventual shut down of Chomp, which ceased running in September 2012.
Chomp was initially setup in 2009 and eventually gained $2.5 million in funding.
Existing as an app, Chomp provided a powerful search facility that made finding relevant apps much easier for its users.
Apple eventually acquired the company in February 2012 for an undisclosed amount – though many sources cited a figure in the region of $50 million.
Within months, Chomp’s Android search was stopped and the app was removed from the Google Play Store.
By September Chomp was no more.
Back in the search game
However, this move will come as a positive indication that Apple doesn’t plan to simply sit on the search technology and could indeed be actively developing better search solutions to integrate into the App Store.
It’s currently uncertain what technology or search algorithms are behind the move. TechCrunch, however, quote MobileDevHQ CEO Ian Sefferman, who works in App Store optimization.
He said that the suggestions appear to be a combination of both popular searches and keywords, with a weight towards the former.
Other search changes we’ve seen in recent months have included moves to editorialize search in which certain terms could link to groups of apps or an ad, suggesting that the subtle updates and tweaks make up part of a much larger plan to revamp, or perhaps even monetize the App Store in different ways.