Should Apple Add Genius Recommendations to the App Store?

We mentioned this thought in passing alongside Dieter's report on the Nokia App Ovi Store, which he says has far, far better discoverability than the iTunes App Store:

What Nokia has done is build a sophisticated relevancy engine that can sort apps based on a variety of factors that are actually relevant to you — like what you friends are using, or what kind of app you like to download, or what music you tend to prefer. It looks to be much better than your standard “top 50″ list

What if Apple merely took their own, existing discoverability process -- Genius Recommendations, which debuted in iTunes 8 and iPhone OS 2.1 -- and extended it to include Apps?

Sure, the automagical playlist generation part of Genius wouldn't be necessary, but the part of Genius that scans your collection, anonymously uploads its metadata to the cloud, and then compares it with everyone else in the massive ecosystem in order to crowd source recommendations... that could help discoverability immensely. It could give us great apps that go great together, in Apple-speak.

Of course, Apple also has to crack down on short-sighted developers trying to game the search results, but Genius recommendations could go a long way towards cutting through the glut that 20,000+ apps brings with it. What think you?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Should Apple Add Genius Recommendations to the App Store?


I think better search is the way to go. I don't really care what apps other people are buying.
An App Genius just sounds like a lot of spam to me. For example, if I download the Facebook app, I'll just be bombarded with every lousy photo app.

i agree. better search would be the best option. searching for apps kind of sucks right now. but adding a genius option for apps would sort of help.

Just fix the search, it's pretty much useless right now unless you know exactly what app your looking for.

I'm not really sure about this genius recommendation stuff. That seems nice for music and whatnot - it sometimes turns you onto things you wouldn't have otherwise noticed - but applications would be tricky.
For example, as a male, I might totally want to listen to some famous 'girly' song (please don't take that chauvinistically, I'm just making an example), but if Apple recommended a pregnancy app to me... boo urns. They'd have to know a lot about me to know that I'm male and have no women in my personal life who aren't literally just friends.

Maybe apple should get rid of the crapps and not allow developers to add a list of other apps to thier descriptions so they pop up every time someone searches for any of those other apps. Schemes... Grr.

God yes. Anything, ANYTHING! Anything is better than the way it is right now. Though, as many have pointed out, the search could be VASTLY improved. The ability to search by rating, downloads, deletion/rejection numbers, to have multiple terms in the search or boolean search, etc. The app store worked great when there was less than 1000 apps. Now it is unwieldly and unappealing.

I agree with brad something needs to be done. The fat either needs to be trimmed or a better way to wade through the muck of crapps should be developed.

Does Apple currently have any time restrictions on the success of apps - such as discontinuing apps that don't sell so many by a certain time... or discontinuing apps with low ratings?
If not, they should be treating apps like any other store treats inventory... if something sucks, take it off the shelves.

it might help.
i'd be quite happy if fart apps were offered to people who liked collecting fart apps, and photo apps offered to people who liked collecting photo apps, navigation apps to people who want to navigate and so on.
the problem is that you'd probably get offered a lot of redundant apps.