Apple Seeks to Improve App Search (Without Google?!)

Say you’re searching the App Store on iTunes, but you can never find what you want. That’s because Apple, who has thus far stayed out of the search game, has enjoyed profits from iTunes despite a despicable search experience.

iPhone developers have had to get pretty creative to get the word out about their apps. (Full disclosure: I’ve marketed a couple of my husband apps and it ain’t easy.)

Now, things are getting easier if word from Apple Insider is true. According to the blog, Apple is asking developers to submit up to 255 characters containing keywords related to their app. The keywords will be used for searches conducted via the iPhone or iPod Touch devices. (If the iTunes desktop software is seriously left out of this update, it makes no sense to me.)

I’ve felt for a several months now that Apple should seriously look at getting involved in search. They’ve missed their chance with Yahoo! now that Microsoft sealed the deal, unless it unravels in an antitrust investigation (wink, wink).

Sounds like a job for Google CEO Eric Schmidt who currently sits on Apple’s board and maintains close ties with the White House. Last year, Google backed out of a deal with Yahoo!, which was clearly designed to keep Yahoo! from being bought by Microsoft’s initial acquisition offer. Google will no doubt lobby the DOJ in an attempt to kill the MSFT-YHOO deal.

In fact, they could potentially kill two birds with one stone. Since Google and Apple are themselves under antitrust scrutiny, Schmidt could agree to leave the Apple board in exchange for Apple doing a Yahoo! deal. While there would still remain Google’s large search market share open for antitrust regulators, Google hasn’t done anything to force their search on anyone and they can always just point the finger right back at Microsoft anyway.

I know this is a far-fetched conspiracy theory, but stranger things have happened. Besides, Google’s coming out with an OS and software giant Microsoft is going after search. There is enough of an argument for Apple to be pursuing search, creating three strong and innovative companies who compete across several niches.

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