App Store search more forgiving of typos

Madeleine Swain
27 November, 2013
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Are you a quick but inaccurate typist? Or maybe just a bad speller all round? If so, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve been frustrated by your forays into Apple’s App store at some point, with the notoriously pedantic site demanding correct spellings of app names or refusing to cough up the good stuff.

But your woes may soon be alleviated. TechCrunch reports that Apple is implementing some changes to the search algorithms on the site, to make it a little more forgiving of human fraility.

“Searchers looking for an app they know by name, but are unsure if it has spaces in the title, are seeing better results. For example, those looking for the highly ranked ‘QuizUp’ game wouldn’t have found it before if they had typed in ‘Quiz Up’ with a space. Now it appears,” says TechCrunch‘s Sarah Perez.

The system tweaks were apparently put into effect a few weeks ago, which should put the App Store in a stronger position when compared to arch rival Google Play, which already offers spell checking.

As TechCrunch notes, “App Store SEO (search engine optimisation) firm SearchMan had looked into the differences between the two platforms, and found that a simple misspelling of the word ‘calendar’ (i.e. spelling it ‘calender’) led to 100 times more results in Google Play.”

But perhaps there’s further to go. As Apple Insider notes, SearchMan CEO Niren Hiro tested the changes with a commonly misspelled word – ‘restaurant’, trying his luck with ‘resteraunt’. Before the improved algorithm, this resulted in just one suggestion from the App Store. Afterwards, it still only came up with two suggestions, despite the thousands of apps in the store that have ‘restaurant’ in their name.

While there are clearly improvements – Apple Insider also points to ‘hotwls’ (a misspelling of hotels) originally coming up blank, but currently scoring over 2000 results – more tweaks could be useful. As it is, try typing ‘Goggle Drive’ and see how far you get.

But then again, maybe that could that be deliberate…


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