One of the most exciting new apps in months began its roll-out last night to Apple's App Store in the US yesterday: Paper, an app that provides a refreshing new Facebook experience. This is an app that, conservatively, hundreds of thousands of people want to download. Even if you can get it in your country already, good luck finding it. Unfortunately, this problem extends far beyond Paper itself.
It's well-known that Apple's app-discovery chops are lacking. The company itself tacitly acknowledged as much when it bought Chomp, an App Store search service, back in 2012. Has it helped? You be the judge.
At the top of this post is what you find when you search the App Store for just the word "paper." Nope, none of those is what we're looking for. That's fair though; it just came out, and there are only seven results showing per device. So let's drill down to iPhone apps, since that's where it's available. Surely one of the most highly anticipate apps of 2014 will show up there!
Hrm. Okay. Okay so it's not one of the top 18 apps named paper, and actually falls behind apps that don't even have Paper in their names, like Office Jerk and Wallamic. It is possible that "paper" is just too broad a search term? Happens to everybody. So let's be a little more specific. Here's what happens when you search for "Facebook paper:"
No Facebook Paper here, either. In fact, only two official Facebook apps at all. But again, we are maybe being too device agnostic; only seven results per section. So let's look at iPhone-app-specific results:
Okay wait what why are there multiple VPN apps here, what is this?
Fine. We are being too particular here, expecting App Store search to be able to read our minds by calling the app by something other than its actual technical name. So here's one last layup that will surely get us the app we are looking for:
OH COME ON.
Apple, it's nice that you've got so many more apps than everybody else. But it would sure be helpful if you made it possible to find the ones we're looking for.