28
Feb
Chomp thumb
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

If you are reading this post, it's extremely likely that you have an Android device. If you have an Android, it's 100% certain that you want to pluck out your own eyeballs in rage every time you are forced to use the search feature in the Android Market. Even Market alternatives like AppBrain leave a lot to be desired, with sub-optimal search results and a less than beautiful UI. The sad fact that Google, a company that makes most of its revenue from search and ads, can't seem to provide half-decent results is what motivated the folks behind Chomp to get into Android.

Chomp search

Chomp is a market search app, previously available for the iPhone, that made its way to the Android Market today. Unlike AppBrain or its iOS counterpart, the Android version of Chomp forgoes services like app recommendation or social networking and goes straight for relevant search results presented with an eye-pleasing interface.

Functionality

In an interview with TechCrunch, Chomp co-founder Ben Keighran explains what makes Chomp excel at Market search:

We’ve developed the algorithm that really stands out on Android since search is so bad...It learns the topic and function of every app in the store. And using AI and machine learning, it builds a whole new database of apps.

After giving Chomp a test run, it is clear that if their search algorithm isn't using machine learning or artificial intelligence, at least it's using common sense. As people often don't know the name of the app they are trying to discover, I compared search results for the terms "notes", "contacts", "launcher", and "mail". If you didn't know about K9 or ADW EX, it seems likely you would use a search term for what the app is or does rather than the name. (Qualifier: in Chomp, you scroll sideways to see the rest of the results, so only the first result is visible. I assure you the others were just as relevant as the first.)

Check out the comparisons below:

Market Notes     Chomp notes

Market contacts     Chomp contacts

Market launcher     Chomp launcher

Market Mail     Chomp mail

The most telling result has to be the comparison between Android Market search and Chomp when searching for "mail". The fact that Gmail is the very first result on Chomp while it isn't even on the first page for Market search demonstrates the superiority of Chomp's category-based algorithm.

Interface

Clearly, Chomp is leaps and bounds ahead of the Android Market in terms of the relevance of search results. Alongside the results, the combination of attractiveness and functionality of the UI makes this a soon-to-be hit app.

The results page is more than just a list of apps, their star rating and their price. Chomp makes the results page the main page for the app, where you get a screenshot (which you can tap to access all screenshots for that item), a percentage based rating meter, the option to rate the app, a link to read reviews, a preview of the description, links to related categories, the ability to filter results by app type or price and a button to go straight to the app's Market page for a download. This sounds like a lot to take in, but the design makes it easy to process all that information much more quickly than you could scrolling down the app's Market page.

The results page isn't the only place Chomp shines. The home page uses the category based data from its search algorithm to display sample apps from each category. From standard app types like social and entertainment products, to categories like recipe apps and apps on sale, this homepage is a great way to find that app you didn't know you were looking for. You can also expand each category on the home screen to see all the apps tagged with that category. For being as simple as it is, Chomp has clearly had extensive development and testing hours invested into it.

Chomp homescreen

I did manage to find a couple minor quibbles in my time with Chomp. The reviews for apps are limited to one line each, which means if you have a lot to say about an app, or are if you are enthralled by a longer comment from another user, you are going to be cut off mid-sentence. There is also an annoying little notification that pops up whenever you sign in, urging you to review every app you have on your phone. Again, these are really minor issues for a product that actually allows me to search for apps on my phone (without using the browser.)

Overall, I definitely recommend Chomp. It has fantastic search results, a great look, and it's a steal of a deal at the low, low price of... free!

Update: Chomp is currently only available on the Android Market in the U.S.

Download Chomp

Zak Stinson
Zak is a neuroscience student residing in the bread basket of Canada. When not reading or writing Android news, he has been known to partake in dangerous backyard science experiments he is nowhere near qualified to perform. He also loves Thai food.

  • http://emaciatedwildebeest.tumblr.com Jeff

    Thanks for the heads up! The normal market leaves much to be desired.

  • Bob

    Wow! I have an iPhone and I can't believe this is the best thing the competition has. Android is just sad.

    • archboy

      Troll much. It is also an iOS market search btw.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Wow, so this is like Appbrain on crack? Definitely trying it out.

  • http://www.artzdesign.com Rich Allen

    Hmm, haven't really experienced any problems with the Android Market. I;ve downloaded hundreds of apps, and purchased a few for my EVO.

  • http://maddencorner.blogspot.com A. Tatum Jr.

    Thanks for the info. I can say though I don't have a problem with App Brain. I find good apps there all the time.

  • DBuckner

    Looks cool. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Dave

    For the average user I think this is great. For a power user like me, I know exactly the name of the app/apps I want, so the regular market works fine for me

  • Defiant

    "a company that makes most of it’s revenue"
    Or:
    "a company that makes most of IT IS revenue"

    ???

  • daz

    Nice app but you failed to mention that it only works in USA market, there is no international support at the moment.

  • khsharpe

    @ daz
    this is a biggie and annoys the shite out of me when ever i have to find out the hard way

    c'mon android police - you want to conquer the world, or are you content to be a UScentric player whilst the rest of us look elsewhere ... ?

    *grumps*

  • Brett

    It works in Australia on the Market. I just downloaded it :)

  • http://kenkinder.com/ Ken

    I tried it out and I was pretty unimpressed. I recalled some apps I had trouble finding before, and one of them was a good GPG/PGP program.

    So I ran "PGP" in Chomp and it only returned one result. Worse yet, the main PGP app for Andorid, APG, wasn't listed at all. That's even worse than Android Market.

    I've been on the lookout for good launcher alternatives, and a "Launcher" search in Chomp returned even more useless results than Market.

    I like how you can page through the screenshots instead of clicking through to each one, but other than that, Chomp's search is pretty poor.

  • http://maddencorner.blogspot.com A. Tatum Jr

    After playing around with it a little bit I don't like you have to sign up for an account to make comments and it doesn't show the android market comments, just Chomps. To me this is what makes App Brain better.

  • Marcus

    I live outside of the US (Germany) and can find it in the market.
    One big point that I don't like about that app right now is how the cache is handled.
    I moved the app to the sd card (as the HTC Desire has limited internal storage), but it will still store the cache on the internal memory.
    After some 10 minutes of browsing I had ~13mb of cache wasting my precious space.

    And browsing through the apps is rather slow.

    So it is not really a good alternative for me at the moment.

  • Chris

    It's interesting that a company that prides itself on it's search algorithms has such a poor market search feature.
    Baffling.

  • Reshma

    it work in Pakistan too

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