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Jean-Louis Gassee bemoans lack of App Store curation

Former president of the Apple Products Division Jean-Louis Gassee has written an interesting blog post bemoaning the lack of App Store curation. The post will find a sympathetic ear from anyone who has tried searching for relevant apps on the App Store before. Despite Apple's effort to improve relevant search by buying Chomp, it's still hard for users to find new apps and for developers to get their new apps noticed.

Gassee starts his post by reprinting a fictional Google press release announcing The Google Play Red Guide -- a dream come true for those hoping for better App Store search and curation. Of course the fictional press release is making the point that "this is what search and curation on any app store should be like." While the press release is just a dream, Gassee explains why such a service is needed in both the Google Play and Apple App Store, arguing that "both companies let users and developers fend for themselves, lost in a thick forest of apps."

He goes on to say:

That neither company seems to care about their online stores' customers makes no sense: Smartphone users download more apps than songs and videos combined, and the trend isn't slowing.

Unfortunately, Apple appears to be resting on its laurels, basking in its great App Store numbers: 40 billion served, $8B paid to developers. Perhaps the reasoning goes like this: iTunes served the iPod well; the App Store can do the same for the iPhone. It ain't broke; no fix needed.

But serving up music and movies -- satisfying the user's established taste with self-contained morsels of entertainment -- is considerably different from leading the user to the right tool for a job that may be only vaguely defined.

Gassee's post is well worth a read for the fictitious Google press release alone. With Apple's App Store on path to hit 1 million apps in the next few years, hopefully the company will improve on its search and curation features that will allow users to find more new, interesting and relevant apps.

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