The iPhone 5: What’s Missing Is App Discovery

9/25/12Follow @pruppal

The iPhone 5 has arrived! But is it all it’s cracked up to be? When you look at it from the perspective of app discovery the answer is a resounding no.

Part of the new feature set of the iPhone 5 is the integration of Chomp to improve search results. This means that app discovery should be better for users, right? Not so fast…

Chomp finds apps through search, Genius selections—which provides recommendations based on ratings systems and collaborative filtering—and also social sharing. This, however, just skims the surface of finding the personalized results that people are requesting.

Generic search results for apps are great, if you can describe what you are looking for, but in most cases, people can’t. Moreover, there are over 700,000 apps in the Apple app store, making it more difficult to find what you are looking for. It’s like searching for an app in a virtual haystack.

While Genius offers more tailored results, it pulls recommendations based on the apps we download. But how many apps are on our devices that we don’t use? By pulling recommendations based on all the apps that are on our devices, even the ones that we never touch, Genius often just piles on bad recommendation after bad recommendation.

The iPhone 5

The iPhone 5

Next, taking a look a social sharing, it’s easy to see the flaws. Social sharing assumes that our thoughts and interests coincide with those included in our social circles. In reality, our social circles expand so far that we are tapping into the lives of individuals with varied interests.

So what’s the solution?

As the CEO of Hooked Media, a company that uses advanced algorithms and social features for its gaming technology platform, I’ve seen firsthand the frustrations consumers face with app discovery.

Apple’s app discovery needs to go beyond just looking at the apps downloaded on a person’s device, to looking at how many hours an individual is spending in specific apps. Have they opened it once, never to touch it again? Or are they spending hours upon hours in the specific app?

There are emerging technologies in the marketplace that are enabling this type of intelligence, by combining advanced algorithms with statistics and consumer preferences to produce more tailored results. Companies like Amazon and Netflix have successfully integrated this technology. Why can’t we do the same for apps?

In addition, social recommendations also need to be more intuitive and balance our personal interests against those of people in of our social networks. To provide this type of customized results, recommendations need to be combined with information like purchasing and browsing history while tapping into the influential recommendations from social friends. The result is tailored app recommendations based on algorithms and analysis as well as human interest.

While the integration of Chomp is helping solve the problem, it is still a long way from the perfect solution. The technology is out there to provide the level of customized experiences that consumers are looking. App stores like Apple’s just need to take advantage of it.

Prita Uppal is the founder and CEO OF Hooked Media, a gaming technology platform. She is an app store expert and holds a degree from Harvard University. Follow @pruppal

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WTVP455WET5P4PORXMDPUGCPEU Teresa

    Your right it is awful, they must fix.

  • NeedMoreApps

    One word, Mimvi http://mimvi.com