Apple has acquired Chomp Inc., the San Francisco-based company behind a search engine devoted specifically to mobile apps.

Consumers already find it difficult to find what they’re looking for in Apple’s App Store, a situation that’s even worse for Android users, and the growing number of apps will only magnify the problem. Apple won’t say anything beyond confirming the acquisition, but it seems likely that bringing Chomp’s talent and technology in-house is part of a strategy to address the issue.

The deal is valued at about $50 million, according to Bloomberg, which would barely make a dent in the $97.6 billion cash and investments Apple has on its balance sheet. TechCrunch was first to report the acquisition.

Chomp has raised around $2.5 million from investors that include BlueRun Ventures, Ron Conway, Aydin Senkut, David Lee, Brian Pokorny and Auren Hoffman, and Ashton Kutcher is a marketing adviser for the company.

Related links:

Tech Crunch – Apple Acquires Chomp; App Store Search And Discovery To Be Completely Revamped

Bloomberg – Apple Said to Pay About $50 Million for Application-Search Startup Chomp

Wall Street Journal – Apple Acquires App-Search Engine Chomp

9to5Mac – Apple acquires Chomp to help with that iTunes revamp

Sydney Morning Herald – Chomp, chomp: Apple eats Aussie start-up

Photo by Flickr user rich115/Richard Giles, used under Creative Commons license