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Apple to acquire Chomp app search platform

Having an App Store means never having to say "Sorry, there's no app for that" -- or at least not very often. With the massive success of the iOS App Store, however, there's also a discoverability problem: how do you find the apps you need? Searching by name or keyword doesn't always help, and some gems may be hiding just around the next page of results.

The search tool Chomp, available currently for both iOS and Android, aimed to change that equation. Via the company's app or web tool, you can search for apps by what they do rather than what they're called. A proprietary algorithm digs into the app descriptions, reviews and capabilities to figure out what makes an app useful, and then exposes that analysis to eager app searchers and would-be purchasers.

Such a capability, if it worked as advertised, would be very valuable. Seems like it does work and it is valuable, because our sibling site TechCrunch is reporting that Apple has bought Chomp. Chomp's current deal to provide Android app search features for Verizon's phones (awkward!) and its standalone app will probably go away once the Apple integration is finalized, according to MG Siegler's post.

Like Apple's past high-profile acquisition of Siri, the Chomp technology could make its way into a future version of iOS alongside the obvious integration into iTunes & App Store search. In fact, putting a Chomp backend behind Siri's active assistance would be a natural synergy for iPhone users. "Siri, I need an app for web meetings that supports multi-person videoconferencing." Easy as can be.

Update: Bloomberg reports the acquisition of Chomp cost Apple about $50 million.

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