Despite the growing popularity of their mobile OS, Android users have a problem: the more apps crop up, the harder it becomes to keep track and discover the good ones. (Androlib, a site that gathers various statistics on the Android market, pegs the number of Android applications currently available in the store at around 190,000.)
But how can you separate signal from noise? Wading through countless apps to discover useful ones is (still) a nightmare in the Android market – as is search.
A new (and free) Android application called AndFriends wants to solve this problem by making discovery and search social – through leveraging your network of Android-using friends. The main idea here is that new Android users usually ask these friends what kind of apps they are using right after getting the handset- and that a list of apps your friends think are useful is more relevant than what you can find in the Android market.
Here is how it works: once you register with your Google account, AndFriends pulls in friends from your address book and also lets you add your Twitter and Facebook friends. You can then discover what Android apps these friends are using and start downloading apps that are of interest to you right away (from the Android market, Andronavi or the au one market from Japanese mobile carrier KDDI).
All apps can be
- shared or kept private individually
- posted to Twitter or Facebook
- ranked by popularity among your friends (in the rankings, you can filter apps by criteria such as location, gender or age)
- stored in a widget.
Each time a friend installs a new app, AndFriends instantly notifies you so you can keep track on what apps are gaining popularity “in real-time”.
AndFriends also features a badge system to boost engagement: users can earn various badges, for example the “Googler” badge after collecting five Google-related apps or “Wallstreeter” after collecting five finance-related apps.