Ottocat Acquired by Apple in 2013 for the App Store ‘Explore’ Tab ➝

Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

There is precious little evidence of the connection between Ottocat and Apple — no LinkedIn employment changes, no announcements to Ottocat users — save for one thing. One of Ottocat’s co-founders, Edwin Cooper, authored a patent that was granted to Apple as the original assignee. It looks like that patent was filed by Cooper as an employee of Apple.[…]

The timing of Ottocat going dark in late 2013 links up with Apple announcing “explore” in the App Store in mid-2014, part of a series of updates made public during the WWDC that year to improve how apps can be discovered in the increasingly large and unwieldy App Store catalog.

I can’t remember ever using the App Store’s explore tab to find an application. Most of my app discovery takes place by searching on the web for an application feature and looking for links to websites I know who have showcased apps in the given category.

It’s a shame that I can’t trust the App Store’s built-in search functionality. But it rarely points me towards a high-quality app I’d be likely to use long term. Instead, I typically find a bunch of junky apps that are only loosely related to the search term. I wish Apple could find a company comprable to Ottocat, but for keyword searching rather than category drill-downs — that’s the kind of acquisition I’d like to see happen.

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