Apple Adding Keywords to App Store Search

Apple is asking iPhone application developers for keywords to help describe their software. The company sent an update asking for 255 characters made up of keywords separated by commas:

“It is important to enter keywords for all applications as soon as possible so your application can continue to be successfully located on the App Store. Keywords can be updated with the submission of a new binary.”

The Apple App Store is an unparalleled success with 1.5 billion downloads in the last year. There are 100,000 developers currently participating in Apple's iPhone developer program. Only one problem: sifting through over 65,000 applications to find something useful.

Unfortunately, the current layout of the app store means that most users will never see even a fraction of the 65,000 that are available free and for purchase. Sure there's a lot of junk, however there are also many great apps that get lost in the crowd.

Tim Cook, Apple's Chief Operating Officer, acknowledged the problem recently, "As you know, today we do it by type of app and also have show popular apps and top-selling apps, et cetera. We realize there’s opportunity there for further improvement and are working on that.”

The search function on the iPhone is only useful if the title of the app or the developer name includes the search term, and browsing the categories is tedious. Keywords should change the situation.

However, it remains to be seen if keywords will change the situation for the better. It's possible that developers will abuse keywords, sending crap applications right to the top of every search.