Mobile application discovery service Crosswa.lk has just debuted its much anticipated native counterpart, in the form of a new iPhone application. The app soft-launched over the weekend, allowing users to see what apps their friends are using as well as those that are popular on the wider Crosswa.lk network. It also allows users to quickly rate apps and receive recommendations of apps they might like to try.
As a self-described app addict, I’ve enjoyed using Crosswa.lk’s online service since its November launch. The user interface for the website is well-designed, easy to use, and feels more like a social network than an app search engine or app ratings and review site.
On Crosswa.lk, users can find and follow their friends, including those from Gmail and Facebook, and peruse the site’s popular and recommended users in order to fill out their network of personal app recommenders. To use the service, you sync your iPhone with Crosswa.lk, which allows it to build an online profile of your app collection. There’s even an iPhone emulator which shows how your apps would look, if installed on a phone. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t duplicate your personal organizational structure and folders.)
And, of course, there are the app ratings and recommendations – the key piece to the Crosswa.lk experience. You can “like” apps, give them stars, write reviews, share the app to Facebook or Twitter, and see how many of your friends have the app installed, too. It’s really the social recommendation component that’s most important here – when you discover a lot of your friends are using an app, you’re likely to try it, too.
Explains Crosswa.lk co-founder Thomas McLeod, the concept for the Crosswa.lk service came to the team after they faced their own app discovery challenges as developers. (The team’s other apps include Pagelime, Spypic, Spyvid, ControlShift, Cooties and Frametastic).
“As we got deeper and deeper into app development, we kept hearing from other developers that they had no idea how people found their apps, and honestly we were facing the same problem ourselves,” McLeod says. “We sat down and kicked around a bunch of ideas, and came to the conclusion that the number one way we were guaranteed to download an app was if a friend recommended it.”
And so, Crosswa.lk was born.
But as much fun as it is to use the online service, Crosswa.lk desperately needed its own mobile app. After all, if you’re building a service to help improve app discovery…well, you kind of need an app for that.
The new mobile version of Crosswa.lk brings real-time feeds of apps trending among your friends plus all those using Crosswa.lk. You can then filter this list by a large set of criteria, such as price, category, community (e.g. photographers, gamers, bloggers, etc.), ratings, most “liked,” and more. You can also use the app to access the various Crosswa.lk communities, or see which apps are on sale and what searches are popular now, find friends, rate apps, and, of course, get your own Genius-like recommendations.
Actually, scratch that last bit – Crosswa.lk’s recommendations are far, far better than iTunes’ Genius.
Oh, and one more thing – just in time for SXSW, Crosswa.lk’s app features a section called “Who’s Winning Austin” which will keep track of the trending apps at SXSW in real time. You’ll find this at the bottom of the Trending Apps section.
Crosswa.lk comes from the team at Imaginary Feet, whose other two co-founders are Emil Anticevic and Patrick Jackson. The company has a small amount of seed funding from a new firm called XOL Ventures, which happens to be four ex-AOL guys. (Disclosure(?): TechCrunch is owned by AOL).
You can grab the new Crosswa.lk app here on iTunes.