A Chatbot Future for Apple’s App Store Discovery

Chatbots are becoming hugely smart with AI and big data analysis to back them up

Chatbots are becoming hugely smart with AI and big data analysis to back them up

It seems as if since the beginning of time developers have groused about the challenges of App Store discovery, and not without reason — tens of thousands of apps are hard to dig through, and unless you’ve got good publicists or for some reason appear on the front page of the site, you will need to work incredibly hard to get noticed.

Now, i think Apple is working to improve the process, though i’m hoping the company declines the chance to start charging developers for decent app placement, as I think that’s tacky. However, one way I think the company might be able to rapidly improve things is by extending Siri to become a little more like a chatbot when you are seeking apps on the store.

Think about Apple TV, which lets you ask for “movies like this one” or “shows like this” and so on. These are contextual questions that are rewarded with contextual responses. Now I think this needs to go one step further, the model I’m seeing works a little like this.

You are at the App Store and you want an app to help you measure your room.

You ask Siri: “Find me apps to help me measure my room”

Siri responds: “These are the apps that help you do that,” and provides a list.

Now you ask Sir, “Which of these are the most recent?,” or, “Which of these have been downloaded the most and have approval ratings of four stars or higher,” and so on.

Now there are not too many room measurement apps, but if you think about using this in more crowded categories this could be a neat way to ensure developers and customers can get their wares before your eyes.

But that’s only part of what could happen. Add a little Watson/Proactive AI to the exchange, and you could get into real time natural language negotiation with your App Store guide and Siri. The products you’re recommended could be those the AI thinks would most appeal to you, or you could ask to take a look at those you don’t usually see.

I imagine that a combination of human operators and chatbots modelled in such a way could vastly improve the service, by making the huge stack of apps more comprehensible and by crowd sourcing useful data from across the store and from App Store users too.


Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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