With over half a million mobile applications available to download in Apple’s App Store, it’s often a challenge for users to find exactly what they are looking for. With the recent purchase of start-up company Chomp, Apple are hoping to revolutionise their search capabilities.

First reported by Techcrunch last Thursday – small Australian search engine developers Chomp have been recently acquired by tech giants Apple. The deal is worth an estimated $50 million according to Bloomberg (although the figure is yet to be confirmed). The ‘Chomp-team’, which consists of around 20 employees, offer a smart discovery tool for both iOS and Android applications.

The sudden acquisition isn’t entirely out of left-field as Chomp’s Chief Executive Ben Keighran and Head of Technology Cathy Edwards are already on board with the iTunes engineering team. In addition to this, Chomp has been eyed up as potential ‘hot property’ since November 2009.

Chomp’s search engine functions come as a welcomed addition to Apple as users have in the past criticised its App Store for its some times limited functionality. Currently the Apple App Store works using a keyword search function so unless you know the name of the app it can be challenging to locate certain products.

However Chomp provides users with a more refined search function that allows them to delve deeper and browse the apps according to categories / functions. It will be interesting to see how Apple choose to incorporate Chomp’s functions into its own Apple App Store, which includes social media integration.

The addition of Chomp’s patent-pending algorithm should not only improve the user experience, but could also be beneficial to app developers. With increased visibility provided by the Chomp search function this will hopefully give developers more of a chance of making it in the somewhat turbulent launch process that often leaves newly launched apps drowned in the sea of competitors in the Apple App Store.