Ottocat


'Ottocat' Articles

Explore Feature in App Store Powered by 'Ottocat' Technology Apple Acquired in 2013

While most Apple acquisitions become public knowledge shortly after they happen, there are acquisitions that go largely under the radar until months or years afterwards. TechCrunch has recently learned of one such acquisition, which may have happened in 2013. Apple is said to have purchased Ottocat, a small startup specializing in search technology. Ottocat's technology is said to be behind the "Explore" app discovery function in the App Store. The Explore tab in the iOS App Store lets users find apps in different categories plus nearby apps. TechCrunch has learned that Apple quietly bought a startup called Ottocat some time ago, which had developed a system to organize and surface apps on the app store based on "nested" categories of increasing specificity. A version of that system now powers the "explore" tab in Apple's app store.According to TechCrunch, though there's little evidence on LinkedIn to suggest the acquisition happened, Ottocat co-founder Edwin Cooper was the author of a patent that was granted to Apple, which Cooper appears to have filed as an Apple employee. The patent, "System and Method for Divisive Textual Clustering by Label Selection Using Variant-Weighted TFDIF," which is related to the App Store's explore feature. TechCrunch has some information on how Ottocat worked, explaining that its technology aimed to introduce categories for better app discovery to assist users looking to find apps in specific areas when they didn't have an app in mind to search for, which sounds very similar to what the Explore feature in the App Store does. Ottoc