Tags Mobile

Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results

App-Store-Icon

Apple is making potentially significant changes to the search algorithm in the App Store, at least according to some app developers. If you’re a developer or publisher counting on a well-chosen name to help with visibility, things could get tougher from here on out. But if you’re a popular and well-reviewed app, things might be looking up.

This could be an early step in the general revamp of App Store search and discovery that MG Siegler heard about when he broke the news in February that Apple had acquired app discovery startup Chomp.

Basically, it looks like App Store search is now weighting app names and keywords less heavily in its search results. Previously, if you were searching for something like “san francisco parking”, apps whose names included those search terms would rank more highly. Or if you searched for something like “traffic”, you’d get a bunch of games with names like Traffic Rush. Now, you’re more likely to see apps that aren’t just a simple keyword match. In traffic, for example, you see more actual traffic/navigation apps — and yes, a few games thrown into the mix.

We’ve heard a couple of possible explanations about why this is the case. Ben Sann, founder of BestParking.com, first tipped us off to the change, because he noticed that the Best Parking app had suddenly jumped to the top of a number of searches, including “chicago parking,” “dc parking,” and “sf parking”, in each case ranking ahead of apps that were a closer match for the search term. Sann’s theory: Apple is now putting a heavier emphasis on app downloads, so that BestParking has pulled ahead of apps with better names (at least, for a given search) but fewer downloads. If Sann is right, that could mean developers who built localized versions of their apps to target different search terms are going to get screwed, while more generalized apps that serve multiple geographies (like BestParking) will benefit.

Matthäus Krzykowski, cofounder of app search and data company Xyologic, has another explanation. He says that Apple has been incorporating download numbers into its rankings for a while now, and he suggests that what really changed is that Apple has gotten better at “topic detection”. In other words, it’s now better able to infer what you’re looking for when you type in a search term, so if you type in the word “gas”, you probably want apps that help you find gas stations or low gas prices, rather than driving games or apps that happen to have the word gas in their title (like fart apps). His team also says that the search rankings seem to be looking at other indicators of popularity, like ratings and comments.

That theory seems to be backed up by Chomp’s description of its technology: “Chomp’s proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps, so you can search based on what apps do, not just what they’re called.” In other words, if Apple is getting better at topic detection, it’s plausible that Chomp’s technology played a role.

And the change doesn’t seem to be rolling out in every country. It’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison for different geographies, because they have different apps and different languages, but our own Ingrid Lunden says she’s seeing similar changes in the UK’s App Store search results. And Krzykowski sent along screenshots of a search for “gas” or “benzin” (German for gas) in Germany and Poland. He notes that in Germany, the results include a lot more navigation apps, while Poland’s results include more random games, suggesting that the change has happened in Germany but not Poland.

In other categories, the change seems to be more subtle. I spoke to one mobile app developer who said that his apps seemed to be ranking higher in multiple categories, with some low-quality apps removed from the rankings, and the search results now matching up more closely with the App Store rankings. However, the change wasn’t dramatic enough that he could say for certain.

We’ve contacted Apple and will update if we hear back.



Comments Off on Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results

Photo

Anthony Ha

June 23rd

Uncategorized

Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results

App-Store-Icon

Apple is making potentially significant changes to the search algorithm in the App Store, at least according to some app developers. If you’re a developer or publisher counting on a well-chosen name to help with visibility, things could get tougher from here on out. But if you’re a popular and well-reviewed app, things might be looking up.

This could be an early step in the general revamp of App Store search and discovery that MG Siegler heard about when he broke the news in February that Apple had acquired app discovery startup Chomp.

Basically, it looks like App Store search is now weighting app names and keywords less heavily in its search results. Previously, if you were searching for something like “san francisco parking”, apps whose names included those search terms would rank more highly. Or if you searched for something like “traffic”, you’d get a bunch of games with names like Traffic Rush. Now, you’re more likely to see apps that aren’t just a simple keyword match. In traffic, for example, you see more actual traffic/navigation apps — and yes, a few games thrown into the mix.

We’ve heard a couple of possible explanations about why this is the case. Ben Sann, founder of BestParking.com, first tipped us off to the change, because he noticed that the Best Parking app had suddenly jumped to the top of a number of searches, including “chicago parking,” “dc parking,” and “sf parking”, in each case ranking ahead of apps that were a closer match for the search term. Sann’s theory: Apple is now putting a heavier emphasis on app downloads, so that BestParking has pulled ahead of apps with better names (at least, for a given search) but fewer downloads. If Sann is right, that could mean developers who built localized versions of their apps to target different search terms are going to get screwed, while more generalized apps that serve multiple geographies (like BestParking) will benefit.

Matthäus Krzykowski, cofounder of app search and data company Xyologic, has another explanation. He says that Apple has been incorporating download numbers into its rankings for a while now, and he suggests that what really changed is that Apple has gotten better at “topic detection”. In other words, it’s now better able to infer what you’re looking for when you type in a search term, so if you type in the word “gas”, you probably want apps that help you find gas stations or low gas prices, rather than driving games or apps that happen to have the word gas in their title (like fart apps). His team also says that the search rankings seems to be looking at other indicators of popularity, like ratings and comments.

That theory seems to be backed up by Chomp’s description of its technology: “Chomp’s proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps, so you can search based on what apps do, not just what they’re called.” In other words, if Apple is getting better at topic detection, it’s plausible that Chomp’s technology played a role.

And the change doesn’t seem to be rolling out in every country. It’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison for different geographies, because they have different apps and different languages, but our own Ingrid Lunden says she’s seeing similar changes in the UK’s App Store search results. And Krzykowski sent along screenshots of a search for “gas” or “benzin” (German for gas) in Germany and Poland. He notes that in Germany, the results include a lot more navigation apps, while Poland’s results include more random games, suggesting that the change has happened in Germany but not Poland.

In other categories, the change seems to be more subtle. I spoke to one mobile app developer who said that his apps seemed to be ranking higher in multiple categories, with some low-quality apps removed from the rankings, and the search results now matching up more closely with the App Store rankings. However, the change wasn’t dramatic enough that he could say for certain.

We’ve contacted Apple and will update if we hear back.



Comments Off on Apple Chomps At App Store Search? Developers See Shift In Search Results

Photo

Anthony Ha

June 23rd

Uncategorized

Smartphone accessory revenues valued at $20 billion in 2012

Mobile Accessories Revenues Increase

Smartphones are expected to earn the aftermarket accessory industry $20 billion in 2012, accounting for more than half of the $36 billion in total industry revenues, according to ABI Research. A recent study showed that smartphone owners spend roughly $56 on accessories per device, nearly double the amount of feature phone owners. By 2017, feature phone accessory revenues is estimated to decline to $12 billion, while smartphones accessories are estimated to increase to $38 billion. “The increasing penetration of smartphones is driving a shift in accessory design toward smart accessories that drive higher levels of consumer interaction, product value, and brand recognition,” says ABI analyst Michael Morgan. “For new market entrants, developing brand recognition is paramount in capturing market share from the incumbents. This is best accomplished by the development of engaging, innovative accessories that extend the value proposition of today’s mass market accessories.” ABI Research’s press release follows below.

Smartphone Accessory Revenues Valued at $20 Billion in 2012

NEW YORK – June 18, 2012

​Smartphones will drive $20 billion in aftermarket accessory revenues in 2012, accounting for more than half of the $36 billion that all aftermarket handset accessories will produce. By 2017, smartphone accessories will grow to $38 billion in revenues, while feature phone accessory revenues decline to $12 billion.

“The increasing penetration of smartphones is driving a shift in accessory design toward smart accessories that drive higher levels of consumer interaction, product value, and brand recognition,” says Michael Morgan, senior analyst, devices, applications & content. “For new market entrants, developing brand recognition is paramount in capturing market share from the incumbents. This is best accomplished by the development of engaging, innovative accessories that extend the value proposition of today’s mass market accessories.”

Feature phone consumers will spend an average of $28.17 on accessories per device, while smartphone owners will spend $56.18 on accessories per device. The difference in spending is driven by a combination of consumers spending more per accessory and purchasing more accessories for smartphones as compared to feature phone owners.

While feature phone accessories tend to be basic commodity-type products, smartphone-focused accessories are increasingly looking to leverage on device applications and communication protocols that can increase the design complexity and allow the accessories to become service delivery platforms.

“As smartphones continue to expand the value of mobile handsets, accessories will need to equally deliver higher levels of product engagement, customization, and predict consumers’ shifting mobility use cases,” adds Jeff Orr, practice director, devices, applications & content.

Comments Off on Smartphone accessory revenues valued at $20 billion in 2012

Photo

Dan Graziano

June 23rd

Uncategorized

Smartphone accessory revenues valued at $20 billion in 2012

Mobile Accessories Revenues Increase

Smartphones are expected to earn the aftermarket accessory industry $20 billion in 2012, accounting for more than half of the $36 billion in total industry revenues, according to ABI Research. A recent study showed that smartphone owners spend roughly $56 on accessories per device, nearly double the amount of feature phone owners. By 2017, feature phone accessory revenues is estimated to decline to $12 billion, while smartphones accessories are estimated to increase to $38 billion. “The increasing penetration of smartphones is driving a shift in accessory design toward smart accessories that drive higher levels of consumer interaction, product value, and brand recognition,” says ABI analyst Michael Morgan. “For new market entrants, developing brand recognition is paramount in capturing market share from the incumbents. This is best accomplished by the development of engaging, innovative accessories that extend the value proposition of today’s mass market accessories.” ABI Research’s press release follows below.

Smartphone Accessory Revenues Valued at $20 Billion in 2012

NEW YORK – June 18, 2012

​Smartphones will drive $20 billion in aftermarket accessory revenues in 2012, accounting for more than half of the $36 billion that all aftermarket handset accessories will produce. By 2017, smartphone accessories will grow to $38 billion in revenues, while feature phone accessory revenues decline to $12 billion.

“The increasing penetration of smartphones is driving a shift in accessory design toward smart accessories that drive higher levels of consumer interaction, product value, and brand recognition,” says Michael Morgan, senior analyst, devices, applications & content. “For new market entrants, developing brand recognition is paramount in capturing market share from the incumbents. This is best accomplished by the development of engaging, innovative accessories that extend the value proposition of today’s mass market accessories.”

Feature phone consumers will spend an average of $28.17 on accessories per device, while smartphone owners will spend $56.18 on accessories per device. The difference in spending is driven by a combination of consumers spending more per accessory and purchasing more accessories for smartphones as compared to feature phone owners.

While feature phone accessories tend to be basic commodity-type products, smartphone-focused accessories are increasingly looking to leverage on device applications and communication protocols that can increase the design complexity and allow the accessories to become service delivery platforms.

“As smartphones continue to expand the value of mobile handsets, accessories will need to equally deliver higher levels of product engagement, customization, and predict consumers’ shifting mobility use cases,” adds Jeff Orr, practice director, devices, applications & content.

Comments Off on Smartphone accessory revenues valued at $20 billion in 2012

Photo

Dan Graziano

June 23rd

Uncategorized

Facebook Recruits Apple “Software And Hardware” UI Leader Chris Weeldreyer To Its (Smartphone?) Mobile Product Team

173140_562210479_6554987_n

Facebook is finally working closely with Apple — on iOS 6 — but it’s also hiring away some of its design talent. The latest is Chris Weeldreyer, who has just left his position as a user interface design manager to become a product design manager at the social network.

What will he be doing? “We’re excited to welcome Chris Weeldreyer to Facebook, where he will be a great addition to our growing design team,” Facebook tells us. But we’ve also learned from a source close to the company that he’ll be focused on its mobile products.

Another interesting clue is the description in his LinkedIn bio, where he describes himself as a ”[p]roduct designer with experience in both hardware and software product development.” That’s more than eight years of experience… right when Facebook is recruiting hard for a renewed smartphone hardware effort.

Here’s some more detail about that, from Nick Bilton at The New York Times in late May:

One engineer who formerly worked at Apple and worked on the iPhone said he had met with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, who then peppered him with questions about the inner workings of smartphones. It did not sound like idle intellectual curiosity, the engineer said; Mr. Zuckerberg asked about intricate details, including the types of chips used, he said. Another former Apple hardware engineer was recruited by a Facebook executive and was told about the company’s hardware explorations.

….

Facebook is going to great lengths to keep the phone project a secret, specifically not posting job listings on the company’s job Web site, but instead going door-to-door to find the right talent for the project. 

There’s still an open position for a product design manager, as Inside Facebook notes. But rather, as it wrote when it broke the story yesterday, the hiring seems to be separate. Here are a few reasons why. Facebook is quick to update the hiring page (that is, I spent years watching it closely when I was at Inside Facebook, and it was always fast in my experience). The page is still live so it may not be about him, particularly since he made his move official on LinkedIn. Also, the current position doesn’t say anything specific about mobile.

Whether or not Weeldreyer is part of some smartphone skunkworks project, he’s also not the first Apple design-side person to go over to Facebook recently. There are only 89 former Apple folks at Facebook, according to available LinkedIn data, but another one of them is Sharon Hwang, who went from being a senior art director to a product designer in March.

The overall sense is that Facebook is trying hard to polish the rough edges of its products, and continues to be attractive enough as a workplace that it can get world-class talent.



Comments Off on Facebook Recruits Apple “Software And Hardware” UI Leader Chris Weeldreyer To Its (Smartphone?) Mobile Product Team

Photo

Eric Eldon

June 22nd

Uncategorized

HTC pulls out of Brazil

HTC Brazilian Smartphone Sales Halted

HTC is pulling out of the Brazilian smartphone market, according to a company spokesperson speaking with Android Pit. The troubled Taiwanese manufacturer will be “completely shutting down their operations in Brazil,” laying off dozens of employees and halting device wholesales immediately, meaning the new HTC One-series will not makes its way to the South American country. The company has promised, however, that it will continue to support existing devices. “After analyzing the sales numbers, we have decided to pull out of the Brazilian market,” an HTC spokesperson said. Brazil recently passed Germany and France in global smartphone market share with more than 27 million people owning smartphones. HTC’s chief executive Peter Chou recently revealed that the company does not plan to offer low-end smartphones in an attempt to bolster sales.

Read

Comments Off on HTC pulls out of Brazil

Photo

Dan Graziano

June 22nd

Uncategorized

HTC pulls out of Brazil

HTC Brazilian Smartphone Sales Halted

HTC is pulling out of the Brazilian smartphone market, according to a company spokesperson speaking with Android Pit. The troubled Taiwanese manufacturer will be “completely shutting down their operations in Brazil,” laying off dozens of employees and halting device wholesales immediately, meaning the new HTC One-series will not makes its way to the South American country. The company has promised, however, that it will continue to support existing devices. “After analyzing the sales numbers, we have decided to pull out of the Brazilian market,” an HTC spokesperson said. Brazil recently passed Germany and France in global smartphone market share with more than 27 million people owning smartphones. HTC’s chief executive Peter Chou recently revealed that the company does not plan to offer low-end smartphones in an attempt to bolster sales.

Read

Comments Off on HTC pulls out of Brazil

Photo

Dan Graziano

June 22nd

Uncategorized

Analysts whack Nokia sales estimates… again

Nokia Revenue Estimates Cut Nomura

Just what Nokia needed: another group of analysts slashing its revenue estimates! In this case, Bloomberg reports that Nomura analysts this morning sent out a research note saying that Microsoft’s decision to upgrade Windows Phone 8 in such a way that the current line of Nokia Lumia devices can’t be updated has further impeded Nokia’s ability to get back on its feet. Nomura now estimates that Nokia will sell 34 million Windows Phone devices in 2013, a whopping 41% cut from the its previous estimates. “We had hoped that Q3 would represent the low point in Nokia’s competitive cycle,” the analysts wrote. “An abandoned strategy in feature phones combined with an apparent increase in competitive pressures in Windows Phone lead us to cut revenue estimates that the recent restructuring announcement does not fully offset.” To make matters worse, Moody’s also downgraded Nokia to “junk” status this week.

Read

Comments Off on Analysts whack Nokia sales estimates… again

Photo

Brad Reed

June 22nd

Uncategorized

Analysts whack Nokia sales estimates… again

Nokia Revenue Estimates Cut Nomura

Just what Nokia needed: another group of analysts slashing its revenue estimates! In this case, Bloomberg reports that Nomura analysts this morning sent out a research note saying that Microsoft’s decision to upgrade Windows Phone 8 in such a way that the current line of Nokia Lumia devices can’t be updated has further impeded Nokia’s ability to get back on its feet. Nomura now estimates that Nokia will sell 34 million Windows Phone devices in 2013, a whopping 41% cut from the its previous estimates. “We had hoped that Q3 would represent the low point in Nokia’s competitive cycle,” the analysts wrote. “An abandoned strategy in feature phones combined with an apparent increase in competitive pressures in Windows Phone lead us to cut revenue estimates that the recent restructuring announcement does not fully offset.” To make matters worse, Moody’s also downgraded Nokia to “junk” status this week.

Read

Comments Off on Analysts whack Nokia sales estimates… again

Photo

Brad Reed

June 22nd

Uncategorized

VaporGenie Lightning Review: This Pipe Thinks It’s a Vape [Lightning Reviews]

Not every vaporizer needs to run on batteries or electricity. In this instance, where there's vape, there's fire. More »


Comments Off on VaporGenie Lightning Review: This Pipe Thinks It’s a Vape [Lightning Reviews]

Photo

Andrew Tarantola

June 22nd

Uncategorized
line
May 2016
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031