Apple Buys Chomp – App Search Engine For $50 Million

TechCrunch reports that Apple has acquired Chomp – a startup that offers app search and discovery platform. Chomp also has a free iPhone app in the App Store. 

TechCrunch reports:

Apple has bought the app search and discovery platform Chomp, we’ve learned.

We first covered Chomp in November 2009 to announce their seed funding. Since then, they’ve grown their scope to include not only iPhone apps, but Android apps as well. In fact, Chomp currently has a deal with Verizon to power all of their Android-based app searches. That relationship, obviously, is going to get a bit awkward with this acquisition.

My understanding is that such deals will remain intact for now but are likely to end once the Chomp team and product fully transitions over to Apple. The same is likely true for Chomp’s stand-alone products.

As the number of apps have increased in the App Store, which is now over 550,000 apps, it has become more and more difficult to find a new app. Apple understands that it has a growing problem on its hand and seems to have bought Chomp to help address it. Chomp claims that “their proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps, so you can search based on what apps do, not just what they’re called. Try searching for “puzzle games”, “kids games”, “expense trackers”, “tip calculators” or “chat” and start finding great apps.”

We just tried Chomp (iTunes link), though we liked the user interface, we were not very impressed with the search results.

Apple has confirmed to AllThingsD that it has acquired Chomp:

Apple on Thursday confirmed it has acquired San Francisco-based start-up Chomp, which operates a search engine for apps, for an undisclosed amount. Apple declined to elaborate on how it plans to integrate Chomp, other than to say it sometimes acquires technology companies and generally doesn’t discuss its plans. 

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Apple may have bought Chomp for about $50 million, which is an awesome deal for a 20-employee startup that has raised $2.5 million in two rounds of funding. The other bonus is that they all get to work for Apple.

9 to 5 Mac reports that according to their sources Chomp CEO Ben Keighran and CTO Cathy Edwards are already working at Apple.

Keighran has joined the iTunes Marketing team and Edwards is now a Senior iTunes Engineer.

We can’t wait to see how Apple plans to use Chomp’s technology to improve App Store search and recommendations.