Apple is looking to make improvements to App Store discovery in iOS 7 by offering related search suggestions. The new feature was spotted by developer Olga Osadcha via MacStories. The changes have either not been rolled out fully or more likely, Apple is conducting testing on whether this improves search within the App Store.
Using the existing search, end users would get a list of results that you can scroll through by swiping left. Little more is available by way of recommendations that help guide users to content they may be seeking. Here’s where the new search suggestions could provide improvements. Just below the search box are a list of related searches. As noted in the example, searching for Calendar could reveal search suggestions like ‘calendar planner’ or ‘daily planner’. Users can swipe through related searches, tapping on a topic to further refine their search efforts.
It’s unclear as to how Apple is selecting the related search options. Ideally, this is based on previous user engagement data. If based solely on app developer keyword data, it could present yet another way for developers to game the App Store search. MacStories points us to an interesting topic of ASO (App Store Optimization), written by the founder of Realmac software, the guys behind Clear.
Searching for apps in the App Store can be an exercise in frustration. The search algorithms are not equipped to deal with the extensive number of apps. Apple acquired Chomp, a software company focused on app discovery and search, back in 2012.
Have you seen suggested search options in the App Store?
Update: Apple has reached out to CNET and confirmed the new search suggestions. A rollout will occur over the next few weeks.