Two weeks ago Apple purchased Chomp, a search engine designed to help users sift through iPhone apps. It’s pretty snazzy and I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to be able to type pizza into a search and have the top results from the App Store delivered to me fresher than a piping hot pie. But why would Apple buy Chomp when they already have a few ways to sort through their App store? Eric and I discuss a few theories in the embedded audio below.
As large companies begin to offer a wide array of services and products, they’re finding that investing in these particular vertical search markets helps to improve their user experience. What good is it to offer millions of apps if users can’t discover them? Before these vertical search engines, finding specific info was as difficult as finding a metallic needle in a stack of silver needles. Impossible and painful.
What we see emerging in the search world are search engines dedicated to a specific set of data. For travel you have something like Hipmunk, for iPhone apps you have recently-acquired Chomp, for restaurants you have Yelp and Urban Spoon. These tools are able to provide a flexible and focused search experience, something larger search engines just can’t. They’re skilled at sorting and managing a large set of data while also understanding topical search queries. They’re handy when you want to enter a search arena where you know typing in Outback will bring you results for the restaurant, not the remote portion of Australia.
As data-sets grow to encapsulate staggering amounts of data, giving the user what they want will become paramount. Do you have a favorite specific-search you like to use? Let us know in the comments and you could win one of our prized Piki Balls!