When you want to search the web, chances are you turn to Google. But where do you go when you want to search for mobile apps?

It's a question more and more consumers will grapple with as use of smartphones grows and the number of sites with app platforms increases. And one company, Quixey, wants to be the answer to that latter question.

To that end, it has raised $20m in a Series B round of funding from a bevy of firms, including Innovation Endeavors, which is former Google CEO Eric Schmidt's investment outfit.

Quixey searches across a number of services that are part of the booming app ecosystem, including the Apple App Store, Google Play, Microsoft Windows Phone Marketplace, Salesforce, Facebook and Twitter. The company's goal is simple: "find apps that do what you want."

While there are a number of companies providing app search, Quixey believes that its key differentiator is its Functional Search feature, which is designed to allow users to find the apps they need by describing what they would like to do and using natural language technology to match that to the words that would actually be used in the app's description.

The big question, of course, is just how big the market for app search is dollar-wise. Quixey generates revenue by providing its search technology to partners, which include handset manufacturers, mobile carriers and other search engines and it wouldn't be surprising to see it develop ad offerings for developers looking to promote their wares.

That, of course, doesn't mean that there is Google-sized opportunity here. but with millions of apps out there and the continued proliferation of the app store model, this is certainly a space to watch.

Patricio Robles

Published 7 June, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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