Here’s an interesting approach to the seemingly eternal problem of mobile app discovery: A new app called AppAide recommends apps based on actual usage.
The App comes from BetaBait, a company that connects startups with early users. Back in May, BetaBait acquired BetaNoodle, a company doing something similar for Android apps, and BetaBait co-founder Cody Barbierri (a former co-worker from my VentureBeat days) says AppAide takes advantage of BetaNoodle technology.
Given the confluence of the two companies’ names, I was a little disappointed that the team didn’t manage to sneak “beta” somewhere into the new app name, but I suppose it wouldn’t have made sense, since AppAide isn’t really about finding the newest apps.
Once you’ve downloaded AppAide, it runs in the background of your iPhone, tracking your usage of other apps. (Barbierri says that no personal data is being collected — it’s all anonymized and aggregated.) Then it uses that data to create a list of the top 40 “trending apps” among the AppAide user base. So you should see apps that people actually like and use, rather than the ones that get a lot of downloads through a big publicity or marketing push, but that no one opens again.
AppAide is currently selling sponsored slots in the app. Eventually, it sounds like Barbierri also wants to eventually monetize the data more directly.
Since quietly launching earlier this week, AppAide has been downloaded “a couple hundred” of times, Barbierri says, and there are already 900 apps in the system. Even with a small user base, Barbierri argues that you can get a general idea of what’s trending, “but with more and more users the data only gets more accurate.” That sounds like a fair argument to me — since again, the main goal is app discovery, not an objective list of the Most Used Apps Ever. And since the current ranking mixes big names like Instagram and Pandora with less famous apps like AppsGoneFree, on that level, at least, it’s working.
You can download the app here.