Back in February we brought you news that Apple had acquired Chomp. Chomp was a search engine focused specifically on apps for the iOS and Android platforms. By the time news of the purchase broke, however, several of Chomp's most prominent employees - including CEO Ben Keighran and CTO Cathy Edwards - were already working for Apple. At the time, it was speculated that Apple would use Chomp's search algorithms to improve search results in the iOS App Store.
Now it looks like that's just what they've done. According to a report from TechCrunch, app developers are starting to see changes in how their apps are showing up in App Store search results. Specifically, searches are beginning to bring up more relevant results, rather than simple keyword and title matches.
If you've ever tried to find an app in the App Store, you know it can be a bit frustrating. Unless you know the name of the app you're looking for, it can be pretty tricky to find it. What's more, if you want a particular kind of app, rather than a specific app, you're probably going to have a bad time. All too often a search for one kind of app will bring up apps with titles matching your keyword from all over the App Store, and only a few of them relevant to your search.
That, it appears, is the problem Apple is using Chomp's search tech to fix. Chomp's big strength - and the App Store's big failure - was its ability to figure out what kind of app you were looking for and give you the most relevant results. According to the developers TechCrunch talked to, That's what appears to be getting better in search results. Now results are more topically relevant to your search, rather than simple title/keyword matches.
The whole thing is very subtle, though. The changes don't appear to have rolled out everywhere yet, and where they have it's not always clear what has changed. A lot depends on the category of app you're searching for, as well as on where you are geographically. That said, Apple appears to be in the process of doing something to the App Store's search engine, and that's definitely a good thing.