Sep 042012

Cast your minds back – if you can – to the days when the web was a jumble of random pages.

‘Web surfing’ consisted, quite literally, of somehow finding a website and then clicking through links to other sites as the mood took you. Yes, really. That really was all you could do. Eventually Yahoo! came along to put sites into directories. But it wasn’t really until Google came along that the ‘long tail’ of the the web started to be uncovered. Today it’s 1994 all over again, at least in the world of mobile apps. Despite startups like Zwapp, Appsfire, Yappler, Apptizr, Appolicious and the rest trying their best to surface the long tail of mobile apps, the iTunes store, Google Play and Widows Market remain a chaotic jumble. I’m sure we are all familiar with the experience of literally surfing stores to find what app we want.

It’s in that context that startups are often to build search engines for the app world. Thus it was that app search engine Chomp got acquired by Apple.

Last week a few old Chomp features made their way into the new iOS 6 App Store application. However Apple’s system for organizing applications remains more or less intact (although this is admittedly pre-release software). So the question has to be asked, has Apple missed a trick?

Indeed, many wonder if app search engines are really the best approach. That at least is the contention of Zoe Adamovicz, Matthaus Krzykowski and Marcin Rudolf, the founders of Berlin-basedXyologic.

And they have the language to match their claims.

“Search, as a concept, is obsolete,” says Adamovicz, sitting on a table in a office with a direct view of the Reichstag (pictured).

“Classic search engines assume that the user expresses their intent with a search query. But that’s not the future. The future is applications being built into every device imaginable. Every car, lamppost, doorknob, you name it. But somehow making sense of all that stuff needs to delivered to people. It’s like Alice in Wonderland – we are now down the rabbit hole into a new world. Search engines assume you are looking for information, but the explosion of the app economy is changing all this,” she says.

Oh really? But before we get into that, let’s take a step back and assess whether Xyologic’s claims stand up.

Read more . . .

via TechCrunch – Mike Butcher

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