Homescreen Is Betaworks’ Latest Experiment-Turned-Product

When someone picks up their phone to take a peek, I can’t help but take a peek, too. Whether it’s a perfect stranger on the train or the girl I’ve had a crush on for months, I can’t help but look.

With the latest product out of betaworks, you can take that curiosity to a whole new level.

It’s a simple app called Homescreen that asks you to take a screenshot of your home screen and share the generated link on Twitter. The link will lead back to your page where other people can see the apps that are nearest and dearest to your heart. Plus, the service uses image recognition technology to let you get in-depth information about the app by hovering over any app, whether it’s in a drawer or not.

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Obviously this is super simple, but the trend is already there. People are already finding a forum to share their home screen on their own, and the best marketing scheme for an app is word of mouth anyway. By pairing those two things together, betaworks is creating its own user-generated app recommendation engine.

There’s also a top apps section of the website to see the most popular apps across the platform.

Of course, there’s something in it for betaworks, too.

The company is pretty obsessed with data. As a startup studio (for lack of a better word), it kind of has to be. Betaworks manages around a dozen different brands, each with own subsidiary company, across a variety of verticals, from weather to media to analytics to gaming. Understanding the value of their products is paramount.

And so, for about a year, betaworks has been working internally to understand which apps are most important to you. And there’s no better place to start than your very own home screen. Catching on to the yearly tradition of posting a screenshot of your home screen to Twitter during the holidays (which I had never heard of before this), betaworks culled data from 1,000 different home screens by searching #Homescreen2014 on Twitter.

After stripping away data that would be too anecdotal (all of it is somewhat anecdotal, given it all comes from Twitter users, but the methodology is explained well in this post by John Borthwick), the research showed that iPhone users are starting to replace a lot of Apple’s default applications, such as mail, weather, task-related apps, calendaring, and podcasting. In fact, for each of those categories, between 45 percent and 65 percent of the home screens examined had replaced Apple’s default apps with third-party options.

Betaworks also found that messaging apps were creeping their way onto the home screen, but not necessarily replacing Apple’s Messages app but joining it.

You can get a full scope of what betaworks found in this Medium post, and if you want to try out Homescreen, you can get the app here.