Article first published as Numbers behind Popular Near Me on Blogcritics.
What does an app need to get into the App Store Popular Near Me?
Apple’s iOS 7 What’s New page says:
Apps Near Me — a new feature of the App Store in iOS 7 — shows you a collection of popular apps relevant to your current location.
Wherever you find yourself — the Louvre, for instance — tap Near Me and you’ll see a list of apps you might find useful.
Apple’s descriptions of Popular Near Me are vague and all very well as most users just want to know what the feature does. An Apple Support article about location services reveals more information with respect to the use of location services to determine popularity.
Your iPhone will periodically send locations of where you have purchased or used Apps in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple to improve a crowd-sourced database that may be used to offer geographically-relevant Apps.
No criteria for selection for Popular Near Me is given other than “the apps are relevant to your current location” as Popular Near Me was probably not intended to be a space for developers to be able to market themselves into.
With the release of iOS 7, Apple updated its iTunes TOS to include under GENIUS FOR APPS AND POPULAR NEAR ME:
When you opt in to the Genius for Apps feature or use Popular Near Me via enabling Location Services, Apple will, from time to time, automatically collect information related to certain of your App Store Products, such as your time spent with each App Store Product and the number of times each App Store Product is launched. This information is stored anonymously and will not be associated with your name or Account. When you use the Genius for Apps feature, Apple will use this information, as well as other information, such as your App Store Product download history, to give personalized recommendations to you.
What we have so far as criteria for Popular Near Me:
- Popular apps relevant to a location (vague)
- Locations of where you have used or purchased Apps.
- App usage location
- Purchase location
- Time spent with each App Store Product.
- Number of times each App Store Product is launched.
- Customers’ App Store Product download history.
Determining the criteria for such placement if we don’t have statistics is difficult. Next Meal, a campus menu application that I helped develop, appeared in Popular Near Me around 1/28/14 about two weeks after launch.
You can try it out if you want, but it’s not too interesting unless you’re at the United States Naval Academy.