New in iOS 8: App Store trending searches

iOS 8 (App Store, Trending searches 001)iOS 8 (App Store, Trending searches 002)

At WWDC back in June, Apple announced several nice-to-haves aimed at improving the oft-criticized app discovery with new App Store features. Among them: trending searches.

It should be noted that first mentions of this feature being active date as far back as a week ago. It’s however unclear whether everyone on the latest iOS 8 beta is seeing hot searches or just a subset of Apple’s registered iOS developers.

Be that as it may, trending searches are tremendously useful and bound to help developers get their apps found in the App Store. As the name suggests, the feature surfaces hot search queries at any given time…

It’s much like Twitter’s Trends and doesn’t appear it can be gamed like Apple’s App Store chart rankings algorithm with fake reviews.

Apple hasn’t shared much in terms of how trending searches work in iOS 8 App Store just yet. For what it’s worth, my experience has been largely positive although I’ve only spotted the feature on my iPhone 5s, not on my iPad Air.

Trending searches immediately show when you tap on the Search tab in the iOS 8 App Store, before typing anything. Not only does this give you an at-a-glance insight into which apps customers are currently interested in, but you also get a list of items related to your query after you search for an app.

I have a feeling these fluid trending searches will be quite helpful as a tool to discover apps related to specific events like the World Cup, for example.

ios 8 app store updates

Speaking of search, the App Store in iOS 8 presents search results as a continuous vertical scrolling list on the iPhone, with two screenshots being displayed side-by-side. In iOS 7, you must swipe left and right to flip through your results presented as the ineffective card-based layout, one app at a time.

Also, don’t confuse trending searches in iOS 8 to iOS 7’s search suggestions or Top Charts.

In addition to trending searches, other new features promise to make curation and combing through the more than 1.2 million apps available in the App Store a less cumbersome experience.

Case in point: a new “Explore” tab replacing the “Apps Near Me” section in iOS 7 (suggests apps based on your location). The new “Explore” section, seen below, makes browsing the store a lot faster.

If you need to browse apps in specific categories or just want to access Apple’s growing list of app collections such as Great Free Games, Best Of lists, Productivity Monday and so forth, “Explore” will be a tap away to help you with that.

iOS 8 (App Store, Explore on iPad 001)

iOS 8 (App Store, Explore on iPad 002)

Other advances coming to the App Store when the software launches this Fall: various backend tweaks make searching faster and more accurate, promotional videos alongside app screenshots, the Editor’s Choice label for highlighted apps, app bundles with discounts for app sets (i.e. Infinity Blade bundles) and a beta-test service called TestFlight, which Apple bought from Burstly back in February.

How useful the iOS 8 App Store’s trending searches are, do you think? Will you be using this feature and can it help surface apps you might not have otherwise found?

[via MacErkopf]