Apple has purchased mobile-application search and discovery company Chomp, according to a new report.
TechCrunch says Apple has acquired Chomp, along with its employees and technology, to bolster the search and recommendation features in the App Store, which is now home to more than 550,000 applications.
The price of the deal and when it was made were not mentioned.An Apple representative declined to comment on the report but issued the following statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans."
A spokeswoman for Chomp declined to comment.
Chomp launched in early 2010 as an alternate search tool for sifting through Apple's App Store, later branching out to Google's Android platform the following year. Its technology provides results based on an app's function, instead of its name.
In Apple's case, the company already employs keywords that developers can add as metadata to their app descriptions that will help Apple's own search engine, however they can only be updated with new builds of the software, as opposed to within the search engine's index, something Chomp's technology could bring to the table.
Besides a search engine that can be viewed from the browser, Chomp is also available as a mobile application on both iOS and Android.
Chomp inked a deal with Verizon in September to increase both the accuracy and relevancy of searches made in its own app store, with that technology coming preloaded in new Android phones. At the time, Chomp's Chief Executive Ben Keighran said that the technology would be "a huge differentiator" for Verizon. TechCrunch offers that said deal will continue until Chomp has been fully moved over to Apple.
Apple is highly secretive of the companies it acquires, and rarely makes announcements or confirmations of the purchases, sometimes until an eventual product or feature that makes use of the technology goes public. In the case of Siri, a company Apple bought in mid-2010, the voice assistant feature did not make its debut until October of last year as part of the iPhone 4S unveiling.