StumbleUpon, which these days calls itself a “discovery engine,” has integrated app discovery into its Android application’s repertoire. It takes into account a range of variables to make recommendations to individual users. Those include user preferences, interests and the choices of friends and other “like-minded users.”
Once installed, you simply hit the StumbleUpon logo/button in the lower right corner of the app and you’re presented with a succession of third party app choices. Its suggestions were generally pretty good in my quick examination and use of the app.
App discovery has become more challenging over time as both the iPhone and now Android have seen app catalogs grow. The iPhone has more than 300,000 apps, while Android now has over 100,000. However the Android Market badly lags iTunes in terms of apps presentation and overall usability.
There are a number of third party sites and apps, such as Chomp for the iPhone or AppAware for Android, among others, which attempt to help people discover relevant and useful apps. Apple also offers its “genius” recommendations technology for apps within iTunes.
One way that developers and publishers are getting their apps discovered and downloaded is through mobile advertising. This has become an increasingly popular way to expose people to relevant apps and drive adoption.
Mobile ad network Millennial Media reported in September that 21% of the “destinations” for mobile campaigns on their network were “application downloads.” If the app stores were really working well, however, it would partially alleviate the need to resort to advertising to gain exposure.