WP Marketplace search – why does it suck so bad, Microsoft?

| July 16, 2012 | 33 Replies

It’s been nearly 17 months now using Windows Phone and the Marketplace. Whilst I’ve been more than satisfied with the quality and quantity of apps coming to the platform, what annoys me sometimes is the ridiculously awful app search in marketplace.

This post is not so much about the equally important topic of ‘App Discovery’ but about the fact that their search function is TERRIBLE! It has improved ever so slightly from the utter rigid block it once was (where if you missed one character it would show no results) but it still sucks.

If I misspell an app name, there are no suggestions given to you. You will just have no results. Or you will be given the wrong results. No wonder no one uses BING except those who are forced to (e.g. obscenely obvious TV/Movie placements or universities). I have a google tile on my home page because I absolutely despise integrated BING (mobile BING is oddly better).

Why make things more difficult for yourself with bad search?



Here’s Android. iTunes, and Nokia Store also get more relevant results.


Don’t even try finding an app by key words.

(Oh, on a plus side, I do like the suggest as you type for app search. But searching past that is sometimes more of a hassle than it should be)



Category: Nokia, Rant, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Peter

    Nokia Store is equally bad at this, either party has not implemented any sort of fuzzy search algorithm. For some reason they seem to be satisfied that their store search sucks.

    • Yeah, I looked for “Sports Tracker” in the search and I did not find what you were looking!

      • Ld. Sidious

        Indeed. I was trying to find QNeptunea from Nokia Store.
        Search: qnep, qnept, qneptu –> Nothing
        Search: qneptun —> Bingo!

    • Bloob

      Funny enough, just such a function is actually implemented in SQL Server ( for almost a decade now actually ), yet they are not using it. Granted, I don’t know anything about their system.

    • Pdexter

      Yeah Nokia Store is pain here. At least in Marketplace when you write it right you get what you searched, not the case with Nokia Store.

  • Great post Jay, would be a great addition in Marketplace!

  • Ebon & Unicorn N9s

    That is Bing search..

    • Mark

      Well it’s either not or it’s a really badly implemented version as Bing offers suggestions and keywords.

      • Ebon & Unicorn N9s

        In that case, MS is even more stupid. Why didn’t they go with the full Bing search then?

  • Oleg Derevenetz

    WP Marketplace have some ridiculous limitations, that I haven’t see in any other app stores (including Nokia Store). For example, you can specify only FIVE keywords per language for your app:

    Nokia Store at least doesn’t have such stupid limitations… It seems, however, that their search index becomes broken from time to time, but that’s another story.

    • noki


  • s2korpio

    Never really had much problems with Bing search

  • Rebbe

    It also because many developers use popular tags in their apps like twitter to get visibility and more app downloads…

    • arts

      Exactly. Ita been explained before, but some people just like sensationalizing things.

  • Oslik

    I agree with the article.

    There will be completely new Marketplace for Windows Phone 8. I wonder if they call it Windows Store, as in Windows 8.

    And I’m interested if WP 7.5 and WP 7.8 will support the new Marketplace/Store, or the old one. :-/

  • arts

    If you are looking for apps that are already there for awhile is pretty good.

    They like preempt your intention to find that brings you directly to that app, something google okay store only got recently.

  • EL

    I once searched for Nokia Drop in Nokia Store. Tonnes of results but no Nokia Drop. I had to google it on my desktop and then send the link to my N8.

    Ditto for the Burning Platform theme.

    I was thinking at the time, if I can’t find Nokia apps in Nokia Store, forget about convincing people to develop apps for it. No one can buy it if no one can find it.

    I didn’t know Marketplace is just as bad… What the hell kind of third ecosystem is it? This is third world.

  • dss

    You are on a roll Jay.. what did Microsoft do to deserve this ?

    Meanwhile, att cut the price of the 900 to 50 bucks. Still too much if u ask me, the only way buying this phone makes any sense if they offer it for free on a 3 month contract.. otherwise its a waste of money.

    • Hypnopottamus

      “3 month contract”

      Not saying I don’t feel the same way, but a 3 month contract is NEVER going to happen in the US. The name of the wireless game here is to lock your ass in for at least a year (that’s the lowest they will go and still subsidize the phone at AT&T).

      • dss

        Oh ya, I know.. just saying, this phone its not worth signing a 2 year contract for, actually, I think 2 year contracts are a little extreme, 1 year would be much better.

  • Janne

    This article makes a very valid point. Thanks for posting Jay. The cache delay and whatnot means I rarely search Marketplace at all, but Google/MNB for a direct link ot QR code instead.

  • Dave

    I find it ridiculous that the Android Store is bad on search, especially coming from a company who’s core business is search.

    Its too basic, and is made all the more difficult down to the volume of results.

  • Nabkawe

    Nokia has even more things in search that could improve , for example in Symbian if you want to dial by name you have to say the name you want fully and exact phrase it too !!!

    and god help you if you have a name with special characters.

    And that’s the case even in Symbian , you have a good small voice engine that is just spinning it’s wheel Nokia , Here’s what you do with this software.

    1- Improve it’s search potential by accepting partial inputs of contacts like if I want to call (John Mayer ) I can just say Mayer and get every contact name that has Mayers in it or it’s details

    2- While under 10% of Symbian users actually use it (assuming those 10% has nothing better to do not that some actually benefits from it ) Almost all Nokia users look for their songs in their music player. and since Songs and Contacts has basically the same structure.
    Nokia can actually use the same piece of software to look up songs to play or playlists to launch.

  • nabkawe

    And that’s the case even in Symbian Belle FP1 (808)

  • jcar302

    I really can’t figure out why something so thing is so hard for them to get right.
    The app search has been bugging me since day one, lucky for them when i search i don’t give up so easy.
    But i bet that can’t be said of the average non tenchie person.

  • migo

    I’d think this is a broader question about why search in general sucks so bad.

  • Henrik

    Marketplaces sucks… plain and simple
    What i don’t get is when you want to see the most popular apps 90 % of the apps is games ???
    There’s a seperate section for games, why the hell do they also include them in the apps section.

  • Jesse

    Searching in the marketplace is really bad. It seems so easy to fix too, they should hire me! 😀

  • Chris

    I think MeeGo’s Nokia Store takes the cake on this: even completely correctly spelled search words might not yield the correct search results.

  • DesR85

    Never had any problems with the Marketplace search, but it depends on the app’s popularity and what type of tag it is using.

    As an example, I was using the Dictionary app by Flow Simulation when I was on the UK marketplace before resetting my phone. After the reset and switching to the Malaysian marketplace, that app was nowhere to be found when I searched for it until I came across another app published by the same developer and from viewing its category was I able to find it.

    It was worth the effort, but I wished that the tag was there earlier so that it will show up in the search.

  • lmiked

    Well I’ve never tried market place yet… But Ovi store search sucks equally the same… You type one character wrong, and it either turns out no results, or completely different and unrelated results to what you intended to find… it just blows… Let’s face it, when it comes to search, Google it’s the king, it puts everythin else to shame… I mean it is even easier to find an app on the ovi store if you google it lets say whatsap ovi than if you search for whatsap on ovi store itself… Goggle will just say “did you mean whatsapp ovi store” while ovi store will say… no results… that’s because their search parameters probably suck as bad as their search engine… you don’t get results unless you got a direct match to the word. LOL, seriously? In 2012, it’s still like that??? :p

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