If apps replace the mobile web, and along with it, traditional search, then the search engines need to figure out how to adapt. Yahoo is taking a tiny step towards embracing mobile apps with a few new products for searching apps. It is launching both iPhone and Android apps for app discovery, as well as desktop app search experience.
The iPhone app is called Yahoo! AppSpot, and I’ve been trying it out a little. AppSpot is about app discovery, much like Chomp, Appsfire, or Disrupt startup Do@. It scans your apps so that it won;t show you apps you already have in results, and also takes into account what you own to show related apps. AppSpot gives you daily recommendations in various categories (music, games, news, social networking, travel, utilities) with the now-familiar slot-machine rolling UI. It also lets you search for apps by keyword, and returns results based on title, description, popularity, and other factors.
The results aren’t horrible, but they aren’t spectacular either, from what I can tell. A search for “music” brings up Pandora Radio as the top pick (duh), followed by Shazam, Last.fm, Yahoo Music, and NPR Music. Well, at least it got the first one right.
A search for “photo” apps beings up Shuuterfly for iPhone as the top result for me, followed by PhotoFunia, PhotoSync, and Photo Frames LITE. Wrong. To be fair, I have most of the usual suspect photo apps already on my iPhone (Instagram, PicPlz, Path, Color), but still there are so many like Hipstagram or With that I don’t have and didn’t even show up. Quite frankly, I’d be better off using Alexia’s flow chart. (Although, PhotoSync does sound worthwhile, until iCloud turns its wireless syncing into a feature of iPhoto).
At least AppSpot is an improvement over the native app search in iTunes. It’s faster, and there are more ways to search. It doesn’t just give you the top 100 apps in each category when you are looking for recommendations. Given that the App Store now has more than 425,000 apps, that’s a good thing.
I haven’tested out the Android app, but I suspect it works pretty much the same, except for Android apps. There are 200,000 of those. The Website delivers results along with a QR code that can be scanned by the apps so that you can basically transfer a search result over. Although if you have to open up your app to scan the 2-D barcode from your screen, you might as well just search on your phone.
Yahoo is making a play here for the app discovery market, but the app discovery startups out there need not shake in their boots just yet.
Yahoo was founded in 1994 by Stanford Ph.D. students David Filo and Jerry Yang. It has since evolved into a major internet brand with search, content verticals, and other web services. Yahoo! Inc. (Yahoo!), incorporated in 1995, is a global Internet brand. To users, the Company provides owned and operated online properties and services (Yahoo! Properties, Offerings, or Owned and Operated sites). Yahoo! also extends its marketing platform and access to Internet users beyond Yahoo! Properties through its distribution network...
Appsfire is a leading promotion and discovery platform for mobile apps (iOS and Android) helping users finding apps and helping developers marketing better their apps. Appsfire edits a set of mobile guides for the app store that helps users find apps in a fun, visual, personal way Appsfire edits unique and highly efficient ad units specific for the promotion of mobile apps.
Founded in 2009 by Ben Keighran and Cathy Edwards, Chomp, Inc. is the only company to enable app search based on what an app actually does. One billion apps are being downloaded every month. As the number of apps explodes, it’s become difficult for users to find the perfect app for what they want to do. Chomp’s patent-pending algorithm is able to understand what an app does and what a user wants and then makes the...
The Everything Project empowers users by putting Everything they need at their fingertips. It’s the simplicity of search with the mobility of apps. Just say what you need and get your results immediately from fully mobile, web apps. The company’s flagship product, EverythingMe, plugs in to the power of HTML5, mobile-optimized web sites, giving users instant access to content from the best publishers. The company released an alpha, proof-of-concept product under the name DoAT Media at TechCrunch Disrupt in May...