Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) June 16 launched two free search applications to help mobile users find Apple iOS and Google Android apps.
Yahoo App Search helps users find apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Android handsets and tablets, while AppSpot does the same as a mobile app for users who want to find new software while on the go.
The idea is to provide better hunting for software in Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store, which has more than 400,000 apps, and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android Market, which offers over 200,000 apps.
Both App Search and AppSpot use Yahoo's existing search technology to show app searchers matching app titles with descriptions, prices, user ratings and screenshots. This provides important context for users trying to decide to download free or paid apps.
The App Search Website certainly resembles an application store. However, when eWEEK clicked on a 99 cent price link to the Angry Birds app for the iPhone in the App Search Website, we were prompted with options to text the link to our iPhone, or scan the QR code with our phone's camera.
If users choose the first option, they must enter their mobile phone number, whereupon they are sent a Yahoo short link to let them purchase the app from the App Store.
The problem with this approach is that it forces users to take extra steps to purchase the program they want, raising the barrier to buy.
Users may procure apps from the App Store or Android Market much faster. AppSearch and AppSpot seem designed to garner Yahoo more search traffic it otherwise wouldn't receive. This is traffic Yahoo needs to stir interest amid gross, falling user engagement across its flagging properties.
AppSpot, available as a download in the Android Market and App Store, sends users daily recommendations of iPhone and Android apps they might be interested in based on the apps they've already downloaded. Yahoo calls these "daily personal picks."
"Unlike Top Apps lists that provide the same apps day after day, you'll get new, personalized app suggestions on a daily basis, so you're always introduced to the latest, most interesting, and relevant apps," wrote Anil Panguluri, Yahoo product director of mobile search, in a blog post.
AppSpot also boasts a related apps feature that displays similar apps within the "more apps you'll love" section. AppSpot and App Search come one week after Microsoft's Bing search engine launched its own iPhone app discovery tool.