Friending the App Store

Great article from Andy Baio:

Apple’s sole attempt at personalized recommendations—the painfully inadequate “Genius,” which recommended clones of apps you already installed—was phased out last year for the even-worse “Near Me,” showing the same location-centric apps to everyone in your city.

This one-size-fits-all model may have worked in the first year, but as the App Store has grown, it’s created an environment where discovering under-the-radar gems is impossible.

Of the two recommendation engines Apple has created, Genius was the one that worked best for me, in the same way that contracting a whopping head cold for a couple of days is preferable to having the flu for a week.

I never use Nearby. It acts as a divider in the App Store between the four tabs I actually care about. Maybe it’s moderately more relevant if you live in a really dense city like Hong Kong or New York, or if you’re somewhere really specific, like an art gallery or a zoo. But where I live, the Nearby tab has displayed pretty much the same apps since iOS 7 launched: a couple of transit apps, the Calgary Herald’s app, an internet radio station, and a taxicab app. Snore.