What’s going on with the Hebrew search in Apple’s App Store??

This is a guest post by my friend Benny Weingarten.
Benny submitted כנסת פתוחה to the AppStore just recently, and was surprised by how hard it is to find his application – even if you searched for it explicitly.
————————-
Searches of Hebrew app names in the AppStore yield irrelevant results. Search for the application בנק (bank), and the first two applications are not related to banks at all. The same goes with almost every other search keyword: מילון, אופניים..
What I found out is that the search is conducted not on the WORD, but on the LETTERS
I’ve even dug into it:
1. Search for ארץ or א ר ץ – and you will get exactly the same results in the same order. While, searching for “fiver” or “f i v e r” – will give you totally different results.
2. Search for נענע or נע or נענענענענענע – and you will get exactly the same results. Searching in English for “ba” and “baba” gives different results, while “bababababababababa” will yield no results at all.
3. No matter what, you always get tons of search results in Hebrew. In English – you only get relevant ones. The reason, I presume, is that in Hebrew – the letters are being searched, with no regard to their order. And the results will always contain the apps that have in their keywords all of the letters written in the search term.
4. Try this thing out: Take all the letters in your app’s keywords and names. Say, it will look like this: אבגדהוחטיכלמנסעפקרשת. Search for it – your app will be on the list. Try to add any other letter to this – your app disappears from the results.

5. unexplainable exception: After retrieving the list of relevant application, the AppStore sorts them in a way I could not figure out yet. There are some points to consider:

  1. search for the word פסיכומטרי, the application פסיכומטרי would be the first on the list
  2. search for the word פסיכומטר, the application פסיכומטרי suddenly appears at the 20th place.
  3. search for the application שיחור, the application שיחור appears at the 3rd place
6. Anecdote: There is ONE Hebrew application that contains ALL the possibleHebrew letters (including final letters – ך, ם, ף…)

Leave a Reply