Berlin-based app search startup Xyo has a penned a deal with Deutsche Telekom to provide an alternative to Google Play for T-Mobile Android phones in the U.S. and Europe. Xyo analyzes app usage data and a user’s own preferences to produce better app recommendations than the mere download rankings used by most app stores. Now that contextual search capability will be featured in Deutsche Telekom’s Top Apps recommendation service in several countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.
While T-Mobile US(s tmus) is now a separate company from Deutsche Telekom, it will also use the startup’s technology, said Xyo’s co-founder and head of international partnerships Matthaus Krzykowski. While the mobile carriers will initially use Xyo’s recommendation engine as a search field within the Top Apps service itself, Krzykowski said, they will expand to other touch points, such as search widgets.
Why are carriers getting into the app recommendation game? Two reasons, Krzykowski said: First, there’s money to be made in app discovery – Facebook(s fb) has proven that. T-Mobile will tap into Xyo’s app search advertising, producing sponsored results.
But carriers also have an interest in promoting the increasing number of developer partnerships they’re entering into, Krzykowski said. Carriers are offering their customers free cloud storage, integrating their address books with text and video chat providers and even offering free on-demand music subscriptions as with AT&T’s deal with Beats Music. Instead of packing all of those services as preloaded apps on the phone – which consumers usually view as bloatware anyway – carriers can target them at the customers who actually want to use them through contextual search, Krzykowski said.
For instance, a carrier could have a deal with Spotify to provide a six-month free subscription to all of its subscribers. Any subscriber searching for “music streaming” would get a list of all of the usual song subscription and streaming radio services, but Spotify would be featured as a “best choice” recommendation. Krzykowski said that recommendation is different from a sponsored result because Xyo’s analytics engine determines that the subscriber receives a definite financial benefit from using Spotify over another service.