Improving discovery on the App Store

App Store

Andy Baio, of Upcoming fame, on how Apple could fix the App Store’s discovery problem:

But how we discover apps has stayed virtually the same since its launch: editorial picks, sales charts, and search. We’ve been using the same set of tools to navigate the App Store since 2008 launch.

What worked for 500 apps in 2008 doesn’t work for 1.2 million in 2014.

As I mentioned in my iOS 8 wishlist, I think discovery on the App Store is a terribly complicated and needlessly painful process, and wrote a bit on how user-created lists could help improve that process. Andy provides a more comprehensive look into the workings of such a system.

While iOS 8’s ‘Explore’ tab certainly looks interesting, and seems to be way more thought out and potentially useful than the damned ‘Near Me’ tab it will replace and absorb, I can’t help but think that this would serve as a more potent and effective solution to the App Store’s discovery problem.

Hubs exist all over the internet for for music, movie, and TV show discovery and sharing, and it would only make sense for Apple to create one native to the App Store. 3rd-parties have tried their hands at such services too, with AppShopper being the most prominent of the lot, and while they haven’t been entire failures, they certainly haven’t achieved the sufficient amount of traction to be ubiquitous. As with other things, having something that does practically the same thing but is built into the system right out of the box can make all the difference.

I see the Beats acquisition as a sign of Apple recognising that algorithm-based personal curation – Google’s bastion – might not be the best solution for them, and thus doubling down on human curation as a result. These suggestions make perfect sense in light of that.


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