App Store Search Results Still Need Fixing

Microsoft changed their search algorithm back in October 2012, causing search results to be worse than before. Two and a half months later, Microsoft still hasn’t fixed the glaring issue: App searches put too much importance on the title of apps.

Try searching for “instagram”. The first three apps are apps that hardly anyone uses, and they all have two or less stars with only 193 ratings or less! The first result isn’t even an app (it displays tweets from Instagram’s account). The second app only allows you to view the daily popular photos on Instagram. It’s not till the 4th and 5th results that we finally start getting some quality alternatives: InstaCam and Metrogram. Metrogram has 3,500 ratings and a 3.5 star average and is downloaded far more often, yet it is placed below all of these other crappy apps!

Searching for “todo” brings up equally disappointing results. Tasks by Telerik is in 28th place! A full 6 page scrolls down! And Tasks by Telerik is hands down the most popular Todo app on Windows Phone, with 2,500 ratings and a 4.5 star average. Yet awful apps that no one has used like Todo.txt with only 6 ratings show up before it, simply because they have “todo” in their title. Clearer is another todo app that gets thrown under the bus by the search results.

“Twitter” search results are also poor. Rowi is listed behind a number of unpopular apps, and doesn’t even appear on the first page despite its 1,800 ratings and a 4.5 star average, simply because it’s not titled “Twitter’.

Microsoft needs to fix this issue quickly! It causes people to get the impression that Windows Phone doesn’t have quality apps, since the search results suggest quite poor apps. All they have to do is make the title have the same importance as the 5 tags apps are allowed, and everything would be perfect. As it stands now, developers cannot use a unique name like”Rowi”, or they have to name their apps “Rowi (Twitter Client)” in order to appear where they properly should be (unless they’re insanely popular like Baconit, which has enough downloads to outweigh its app’s name when searching for “reddit”).

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About Author

Andrew is strongly invested in Windows Phone as a developer of numerous apps and a future employee with Microsoft. He takes a critical and unbiased approach to reviewing products and software. Even though he loves Windows Phone, Andrew will tell things as they truly are, without any sugar coating.