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​Google uses AI to help you find that obscure Android app

Google said Tuesday that it has started using artificial intelligence to classify Android applications in its Google Play store. Google analyses app names and descriptions in order to choose which ones to display in search results. It does so using a technique called a neural network, which is roughly modelled after the way human brains function. While it is straightforward to display the Snapchat app when users search for it by name, the AI system is intended to perform better when people search for categories such as “selfie,” Google AI researchers said in a blog post-Tuesday.

But the technology still needed a human touch. Google had to train its system by letting people assess how well the categorization worked and thus steer it toward better results.

With hundreds of thousands of apps to pick from, discovery is a major challenge for app stores. When you search or browse for apps, companies like Google and Apple have to balance new apps with popular standbys, weed out malicious apps, and curtail developer efforts to get their own apps to show up high in search results.

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