The problem with Apple’s massive App Store is finding apps you actually like. Explor makes that hunt an engaging one, encouraging you to tap your way to app discovery with personalised recommendations.
What is it?
Explor, Free, iPhone. Explor, known in previous incarnations as Appsaurus and Appalanche, is a more active – and, better yet, more intelligent – way to discover new apps than just idly clicking through the App Store. The main part of the app is the explor section: you’re presented with five apps and encouraged to pick one that interests you most. From there you’re sent to another screen with five new apps, the selections informed by the choice(s) you’ve made on the previous screen. Clever for two reasons: 1. selecting an app and seeing it generate five new ones adds a sort of slot machine excitement to the endeavor, and 2. you aren’t getting five random apps but five that conceivably are tailored to your interests.
Once you find one you’re interested in you can go to a dedicated page for that app, where you can see pricing, screenshots, quickly access reviews from popular tech sites (ours included), and jump into the App Store when you decide to take the plunge. You can “like” apps, too, which creates a sort of catalogue of apps you’re into – useful if you want to get into Explor’s social network side, which lets you find other Explor-using friends across Facebook and Twitter and check out all the apps they’ve discovered.
Who’s it good for?
People who love apps and love looking for new ones or people who hate apps because the can never find new ones.
Why’s it better than alternatives?
It’s better than iTunes because it actually gives you recommendations based on you; the “new and noteworthy” section on the front page of the App Store is useful, sure, but beyond that they just let you drift along in a sea of apps. Also, touching your way to app discovery on your phone just feels more fun than clicking around on the computer. The team behind Explor has been doing the app recommendation thing for a minute now, so they’ve got a pretty good sense of how to read a user’s taste and dish out stuff they’ll actually be interested in.
Oh, and I’d never take app recommendations from some gross looking app. Thankfully, Explor’s got a beautiful (and beautifully animated) steez.
How could it be even better?
I’m just trusting Explor when they say that every set of five apps is informed by my last choice, but it’d be nice for them to let you actually see what kind of profile they’re making for you as they make it. I’d like to be able to go through and say, definitively, “yes I like strategy games”, “yes I like minimalist design”, “no I don’t like first person shooters”, etc. Also, while the UI is indeed slick, I’m not sure it should take two touches for me to jump to the details page of any given app. I can make a snap decision on a screenshot no problem, so those screenshots should be accessible to me right away after one tap.
Explor, iPhone [iTunes]