Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

App-Happy: Why App-Search Apps Are All the Rage

There are deal apps, there are app-discovery apps, and now there are app-discovery apps for app deals.

App-o-Day, a new mobile app launching today, is branding itself as the “Groupon of apps” and serving up an app deal of the day. For example, an app that might normally be 99 cents might be free for a limited time; another app might be featured because there’s a good deal offered within the app.

The free iOS App-o-Day app was created by Iddiction, a new start-up from mobile games veteran Andrej Nabergoj. He employs a team of 15 people who go out and speak with developers, then handpick and test the apps that are promoted in App-o-Day.

But App-o-Day isn’t just about helping users find a good app deal. It’s also about helping them find mobile apps in general, as apps for searching apps become increasingly valuable.

The most recent evidence of this trend is Apple’s acquisition of app search engine Chomp — which helped users find apps in both iTunes and the Google Android marketplace — as its App Store numbers balloon to over 500,000 apps and nearly 25 billion downloads.

AppTap, an app recommendation and advertising network that works across mobile platforms and Web sites, just raised $4 million in Series A funding to continue to build its business. AppTap has said it thinks app discovery isn’t — and shouldn’t be — limited to app stores, and that more context can aid in search discovery.

And Argentina-based Kinetik recently took its iOS-based app discovery service to the Web, TheNextWeb reports; the service will now allow app users to “share apps, post comments and discover your friends’ recommendations,” all part of an effort to enhance the app-search process.

Despite the fact that many apps are free or very inexpensive, the app economy continues to grow, with research firm iSuppli projecting that total download revenue from mobile apps and games will hit $5.6 billion in 2012, $6.9 billion in 2013, and $8.3 billion in 2014. Increasing smartphone adoption, in addition to the growing number of apps available in app stores, is likely contributing to this.

With everyone getting app-happy, it’s easy to see why good app-discovery apps are becoming a trend (and why mobile developers like the idea, as well, since their apps can easily get lost amid hundreds of thousands of apps).

It’s one thing if consumers can search for a specific app based on a friend’s recommendation — as more than half of them do, according to a report put out last year by Latitude and MTV Networks. It’s easy enough to search for, say, Instagram, and come up with the desired app.

But mobile app searches often don’t perform as well when a smartphone owner is looking for a specific function, such as an app that makes photos look vintage-y and hip, which can result in frustrated mobile consumers and developers — and advertisers. We’ll likely see more developers try to solve the search problem, as there are even more apps to search for.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus