The Confusing World of Apps


By Javier Espinoza

GIVEN THE PLETHORA of apps out there, it has become increasingly hard for smartphone users to spot the best ones. Apple'sApp Store and Google Play each have over a million to choose from. To make things worse, app searches aren't as intuitive as consumers might hope. Here are some sophisticated and efficient ways to search for the best app.

Know the sites

Developers are limited in the number of characters they can use to describe their products, which in turn restricts the search words that consumers can use. Luckily, there are websites dedicated to finding the best apps.

One of them, 148apps.biz, breaks down per category how many apps there are on the App Store. "It gives you a good statistical breakdown," says Geoffrey Goetz, a San Francisco-based freelance app developer and writer for blog Gigaom, which specializes in emerging technologies.

Another great site for iOS apps is appadvice.com, which provides reviews and creates its own list of the top paid and free apps.

Use an app search engine

There are search engines for apps too. Sites such as Quixey.com and Xyo.net are aimed at making searching apps more intuitive. Quixey, for example, unlike other app finders, lets users describe what they want to do with an app, making the search much easier. "We are in the early days of helping people to find more and better apps," says Matthaus Krzykowski, co-founder of Germany's Xyo.

Get ahead of the game

Community forums or message boards will show you what people are talking about, says Mike DiGiovanni, an Android apps developer for Isobar, a global communications agency network. He recommends XDA-Developers.com, a forum initially founded for developers by developers. "It's a great way to discover stuff that's going to be one of those up-and-coming, really popular apps."

Talk to your friends

For all the technology available, one of the most reliable ways to discover new apps you won't be able to live without is old-school: relying on other people's advice. Even those with a deep knowledge in app discovery such as Mr. Krzykowski still use it. "Going to friends who you know have a hobby or a passion is a great way...to find apps," he says.

Email Javier at

javier.espinoza@wsj.com

, or follow him on Twitter at:

@WSJEjespinoza

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  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  05-08-141940ET
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