There’s been a lot of talk about the decline of the value of Google search over the past few weeks. What baffles me is how iTunes search has been able to fly under the radar for so long without someone punching it in the face. It is so bad. I mean seriously, it’s awful. Even worse is that it has been as long as I can remember. What’s so bad you ask? How much time do you have?

*Design – The iTunes search design is nails on chalkboard bad. Seriously. Listing out every possible category and making me scroll for miles to eventually figure out that it didn’t find what I was looking for. It’s extremely inefficient wasting precious time and effort on my part. For the record I’ve never searched for an album title in my entire life, but I’ve probably seen thousands in my search results.

*Speed – Word association game…Road Runner is to FAST what iTunes is to SLOW. I feel like iTunes is about to explode into shrapnel every time I search. What’s taking so long? Maybe the MSFT paperclip takes my query, gets on the 101 freeway, drives to Cupertino, stops at the Apple cafeteria for a quick bite, then gets engineering to fulfill the request, and returns it back to me in Mountain View. It’s plausible.

*Results – This is my the biggest gripe by far. If the results were good, I could probably get over the other problems. Heaven forbid you don’t know the song name exactly the way it’s spelled. Good luck if the savy app developer couldn’t get ‘Runs’ for his hot new app and decided to go with ‘Runzz’. Spelling bee kids lose to iTunes every time.

*User Experience – Here’s my flow for searching iTunes:

1. Open iTunes.

2. Go directly to Google.

3. Search song title, artist, app name, or podcast.

4. Go back to iTunes.

5. Click on the iTunes Store button.

6. Enter word in the search bar.

7. Get bad results.

8. Return to Google and try to find a different spelling, name, or secret key to unlock iTunes search.

9. Go to a quiet corner of my office and cry.

For the love of all that’s good Apple, please fix iTunes search or at least tell people it’s powered by AltaVista. It’s cool if it is. I’d just like to know.

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