It used to be easy to find iTunes download URLs in Google search. Just plop in the topic or title and add “iTunes,” “iOS app” or just “iPhone,” and they’d pop up like the first blooms of spring, usually at or near the top of the results.
But things seem to be changing. Some of those search results aren’t ranking very highly now, wading along at the bottom of the page. Others are stashed even further back, trudging along near the bottom of the second or third page. These aren’t just obscure applications, mind you, but it affects popular apps as well, like Whatsapp, Twitter, Flipboard, Angry Birds, Snapchat and others.
Things can vary depending on the app, the terms of your query, and whether you’re logged in during the search. And, as always, appending “iTunes” can help, but even that sometimes doesn’t do the trick.
There’s no way to know if this is Mountain View’s intentional stab at Cupertino, or if it’s just a weird side effect from the search giant’s constant honing of its search algorithm. But there’s something hard to overlook in all that: Not all iTunes app-download links are affected. Some — including those made by Google, like Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail — still show up just fine at the top of the page.