Anyone can find iPhone apps by opening the App Store and browsing by category or entering a search term. So you might wonder why you would want to install Chomp, an iPhone app that basically does the same thing. The answer is because Chomp doesn’t just search the App Store. It also indexes web-based apps that are optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch.
Chomp also offers personalized recommendations and live updates of user reviews. The folks at Chomp think their review data is also more valuable than the reviews you find from the App Store, because Apple only asks users to review apps once they’re uninstalled. Chomp will ask you to rate every app you install, whether it’s a web app or a native app.
The Chomp service for iPhone has been available since January, but the company just recently rolled out support for web apps. When you click the “Get it” button next to any app you find in Chomp, the app will either open the Safari web browser or the App Store.
You can create a Home Screen shortcut for any web app by clicking the + button in Safari and selecting “Add to Home Screen,” which makes the web app work much the same way as a native app. The only difference is that when you click the icon you’re actually opening the web browser and visiting the appropriate URL instead of opening a native app.
Chomp is only indexing Apple’s curated list of web apps, which means that it won’t provide links to every iPhone-formatted web page. Don’t expect to see porn recommendations anytime soon, for instance. But by offering some web app recommendations, Chomp doesn’t just provide a different app discovery experience than the App Store, it actually offers a wider selection of apps.
Chomp is available as a free download from the iTunes App Store.