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Discovr how to make app store less broken

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West Australian tech start-up, Filter Squad, is behind two of the hottest discovery apps on the Apple market.

Since its release last Tuesday, Discovr Apps has made it to iTunes’ top app in 16 countries including the US, Japan, Canada and Australia. The developer’s earlier Discovr Music app launched in January, reached 150,000 downloads in three days, and shot to number one in 28 countries.

Developer duo David McKinney and Stuart Hall used the visual mind-map style of their Discovr Music app and applied it to Apple’s App Store catalogue, allowing users to search interactively for new apps based on a recommendation engine from what they already enjoy.

“We use a combination of machines and humans to develop our recommendations" says founder and CEO David McKinney. "We have a heap of deep machine technology combined with a human curation layer on top and this approach gives us the ability to provide great recommendations for all kinds of apps".

With Discovr Apps the duo set to fix the Apple’s app discoverability issue, “essentially the app store feels broken,” McKinney says. “The Store is ridiculously slow, it's constrained to a small list of curated apps, and even Apple's own flagship recommendation engine Genius produces as many bad results as good,” he says.

“You start with an app you like, or choose from one of the recommended apps, and then you're presented with a visualisation of related apps in an interactive map that lets you explore and discover a whole new world of apps,” he explains.

Filter Squad is a spin off from bigger app development collective Bonobo Labs, also based in Western Australia, which has a number of projects in the pipeline.

Filter Squad received an international kick start in January this year after receiving recongnition as one the three winners of the music market MIDEM’s 2011 MidemNet Lab competition. The duo won the coveted spot after competing in an international pitch against a pool of 300 competitors. The project that won that accolade, Jambox – a cross platform magazine styled iPad app- is also backed by former Kazaa CTO and Pollenizer co-founder Phil Morle. ®

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