Chomp App Search Analytics Year End Summary 2011

Posted: February 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: apps, Chomp, Google, Statistics | No Comments »

My most recent App Search Analytics report from Chomp was written up in TechCrunch. Sarah Perez wrote a fantastic summary in her article, Games Decreasing In Popularity On Android, Entertainment Apps On The Rise, but I wanted to emphasize the most interesting points.

First, as implied by the title of the article, games are decreasing in popularity on Android as a share of total downloads, while that same share is increasing on iOS. In December, games were 36.1% of iTunes downloads and 22% of Android downloads.

Next, I wanted to tackle some misconceptions about app pricing on the two platforms. As a proportion, paid apps are an almost negligible proportion of downloads on Android (where they hover around 3-4%). Consequently, average “app purchase price” (shown below) is quite low compared to iOS, where the proportion of paid app downloads is between 6 and 10 times as high.

The above plot is misleading because it hides two important facts:

  • $.99 apps are a VERY large proportion of iOS app downloads
  • a relatively larger proportion of app downloads on Android are at “premium” price points due to this relative lack of apps at price points less than $1

As a result, average app price, conditional on non-free apps, is actually higher on Android.

The point of this article isn’t to steer developers of apps (premium or otherwise) to or away from either platform, each of which has its strengths. You can read up on monetization of platforms here and here (one article is very pro-iOS, the other very pro-Android). Rather, I wanted to reinforce a basic lesson from Stat 101: averages can be very misleading.


Searching by Function: App Search v Web Search

Posted: July 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chomp, Google | No Comments »

This year I was invited to speak at the Wharton Global Alumni Forum in San Francisco to talk about Apps and why we are so excited about them at Chomp. It was a tremendous honor to be one of the 50 speakers selected from the 86,000 alumni of the Wharton School. My presentation focused on three points:

  1. Explosive Growth in App Downloads and Usage
  2. Differences Between App Search and Web Search
  3. Chomp’s Advanced and Innovative Algorithms for App Search

Explosive growth in App Downloads and Usage

Apps have quickly become the window through which we consume content. The IDC predicts 183 billion mobile app downloads by 2015 and analytics industry leader Flurry reports that Consumers Now Spend More Time on Mobile Apps Than the Web. Just like the early days of the web, algorithms are needed to manage the explosive growth in and help users stay afloat and navigate the unending sea of apps.

Differences Between App Search and Web Search

The differences between App and Web search number far greater than what they have in common. Rather than searching by keyword, users search primarily by function or category when looking for apps. Web pages have a sophisticated link structure, apps do not. Expected results for the same query, have drastically different expected results on web as compared to app search; consider a search on Google for social networking and a search on Chomp for social networking. As a result, very different algorithms are needed to tackle the problem of App Search.

Chomp’s Advanced and Innovative Algorithms for App Search

Unlike Google, Yahoo, and Bing, Chomp is the first search engine built from the ground up for apps. Our sophisticated machine learning and natural language processing algorithms understand your query beyond just the keyword, Chomp understands the topic in which you are interested. When you search for to do list, we understand that you are interested in managing your time and remembering to complete various tasks. Chomp returns a wide array of apps to help you achieve this goal, not just apps named “to do list”.

In my talk I step through the above three points in more detail and of course end with some app recommendations. Make sure you check out:

  • Findmytap – the best way to find your favorite beer on tap nearby
  • Foodspotting – a great app for finding foodie worthy eats wherever you are
  • Strava – for logging and tracking your bicycle rides.

Above all I work at Chomp because I love and am passionate about apps and the very positive impact they’ve had on us all. Can you imagine your life without a checkin on Foursquare? How many hours have you spent hurling angry birds? No matter how hard I try, I can’t even get lost anymore. The full presentation can be found here and happy app searching!


Indirect Content Privacy Surveys: Measuring Privacy Without Asking About It

Posted: June 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Google, Privacy, Statistics | No Comments »

Awesome news! My most recent publication: Indirect Content Privacy Surveys: Measuring Privacy Without Asking About It became a featured publication on the Google Research Homepage. For when they take it down I have included screenshots of the homepage (paper is in bottom right hand corner):

and tweet announcing its post:

This is exciting for a couple of reasons. First, recognition by Google is great validation of the importance of the work. Googlers publish tons of papers, and its a great honor to have mine showcased on the front page of the research blog. Second, should I ever want to return to academia, this paper now adds much more academic “street cred.” Finally, a press piece about the article was written by Thomas Claburn (@ThomasClaburn). This is the first time anything I’ve written has ever received any sort of non-academic press coverage. His article can be found here. Thomas did contact me for comment several hours before he sent the article, but my coauthors and I were unable to run things through the necessary PR people.

I’m not really going to comment on his article, because I am no longer at Google, don’t want to take on the role of spokesperson, and technically anything I say on the subject should go through the Google press/PR people. I’ll simply say that understanding your user is key to making ANY good product. Laura, Jessica, and I didn’t write this paper or conduct this research with any specific agenda or to right any wrong. We wanted to understand how users feel about and share their content, so we asked. Interesting patterns in their responses emerged, so we investigated and reported our findings. Thats it.

Though I have a disclaimer in my “about” section, I want to again emphasize that all opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own. In particular, they do not reflect those of any past, present, or future employer, especially Google.