Apple appears to have changed the algorithm used to rank apps on its App Store, taking into account how often they are used, rather than pure download numbers or revenues. People noticed the change first when Facebook’s iPhone app shot to the top of Apple’s Top Free Apps chart – it’s been hovering between 10th and 20th place for the last year and a half. Pandora has shot up to 6th spot having hovered between 30th and 50th for the last month, too, according to Inside Mobile Apps. “From our point of view, Apple is absolutely considering more than just downloads, which we believe is the right direction to go in to measure the true popularity of an app,” says Peter Farago of analytics firm Flurry, which has been tracking the changes. This news is important for music apps, which by their nature tend to be used often. Google is also thought to have recently changed its Android Market algorithm to reflect how often apps are used, rather than simply how much they are downloaded.

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