Originally Posted by DewMe
Traditional search is not the perfect answer. Search works well when you have a pretty good idea of what you're looking for. However, it's not so great for open ended discovery. If we really want to see creativity in the App Store and app marketplace then we want to have new categories of Apps that don't currently exist.
I don't think adding categories is going to help much because categories are intended to be a way of associating a singular definition with a group of items that a user already recognises. Adding new ones requires that users learn the new representations. It's also not always the case that users know what kind of app or category to look at, the motivation in discovery is just to find something appealing. Take a popular game like Limbo. You can add as many category labels like game > platformer > stylish but the more levels people have to drill down, the harder they get to find again and the user might just be looking for a cool game regardless of subcategory.
I think exclusion is the way forward rather than sorting. Sorting will never prevent you from seeing apps you've already seen or even own and have decided you aren't interested in seeing again.
If an app has 2 stars or less from a lot of reviewers, you should be able to exclude them. If there are apps designed specifically for children, you should be able to exclude them.
I loved how they added the little 'i' icon so you can open a popup for an app and it's much faster for browsing the store but why not put a cross and a "not interested" button inside the popup. Clicking the cross will make the app icon disappear and it will go into a personal list of exclusions so you can easily get it back again.
They seem to like their global charts but I'd rather they hid those out of the way. Once a user has excluded enough items, the App Store will get a better idea of what they like and every time you visit the store you will see new items.
There's efficiency to consider with a store this size and showing lots of people the same items and using fixed lists is easier to cache but it shouldn't be too taxing to do a few items at a time.
There are over 1m apps. A user can skip through 100 apps per day and exclude the ones they don't want. After about 1000 items, the store will know which apps closely resemble the excluded ones and prioritize apps that aren't like those. Not only this but the massive volume of exclusions will let Apple see which apps are really bad and use this in their rankings.
This is actually how Google search works. It's about links that pass rank onto other pages. Downloads and ratings are considered recommendations but downloads are not recommendations. If thousands of people are tricked into clicking a spam link, that isn't a recommendation. It's only a recommendation if someone maintains an active link to the page. Ratings are explicit recommendations but are fixed in time and can be abused. Exclusions would act like a downrank, install status could perhaps act as an uprank but I'd say it should be launch count. How many times an app is opened should count towards its popularity but they have to be careful about tracking user activity too closely.