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The App Store's search is a disappointment

The App Store’s search needs some love. Right now, it favours people acting in bad faith who can game the algorithm over people making quality apps.

Here’s a recent example.

I download Super Hexagon every time I board a plane. I have no idea why I just don’t keep installed all the time.

I search for it by name because I’m a reasonable man with reasonable expectations about how search works.

Super Hexagon isn’t the first result. Infinite Hexagon – Super Helix is, presumably because it’s infinite and has an added helix. Based on the screenshots (and the name), this game is a total and unquestionable rip-off of Super Hexagon.

The original isn’t even on the screen unless you scroll. It’s app page is bumped below the fold by a story about Super Hexagon lavishing praise on its gameplay and verve.

Is an editorial more valuable to an app than first place in search results? How about when that editorial means you can’t even see the app in said search results without some scrolling?

So. Super Hexagon is such a good game that it deserved an editorial in the App Store. Yet the App Store’s search is so lacking that Super Hexagon doesn’t get top billing in search results when you go looking for it by name, delivering, instead, a rip-off.

Search functionality is hard to build well. And no system will provide perfect results all the time.

But if the goal is to deliver value to customers by surfacing great apps made by talented developers then, in this case at least, the App Store is failing.

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