Unlike web pages, the contents and capabilities of apps are usually hidden away from a search engine’s web crawlers, not accessible to searchers or potential users. Now, Microsoft’s Bing search engine wants to give users a clearer peek inside those apps, straight from search results.
The company said this morning that it’s building “a massive index of apps and app actions,” including not just Windows 10 apps but also Android and iOS apps. Microsoft’s Bing team outlined the plan in a post urging app developers to help the company lay the technical groundwork for the initiative.
“We also believe this to be a model that unlocks tremendous opportunity for app publishers — as many more of you will be able to compete in crowded categories where usually a handful of category leaders dominate,” wrote Vincent Wehren, the Bing product lead for Webmaster and Publisher Experiences, in the post.
Google already indexes content for Android apps, but not apps for other platforms. Google still dominates the U.S. search market, with nearly 65 percent market share, but Microsoft has emerged as a strong No. 2, with more than 30 percent market share when taking into account its recently revised search partnership with Yahoo.
In order to be included in search results, developers need to mark up their apps as outlined at Applinks, and define actions using schema.org. For more detailed information on how to have an app indexed, check out the in-depth post on the Bing blog.
Wehren says in the post that Bing “will start applying this to our results soon.