Just a few days back there was this news item (in fact, multiple news items) which said that Google Play now has 700,000 apps. It has caught up with Apple’s ITunes. The combined figure could easily hit 2 million before your next birthday. Even 700,000 apps sounds too much for a lifetime. The thing with discovering great apps is that they need to go viral to catch attention. They often need to be backed by promotional blitzkriegs, or the hand of God.
But what if a great app is lying undiscovered in the shadowlands of the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store? What if you need just this sort of app? Thanks to app discovery engines, there are now more than a few ways to search for a good app for Android or iOS. Each comes with its own unique ways of rating and ranking apps. Hubbl goes for word of mouth and hashtags.
The Hubbl “Telescope”
Yes, the intention (the smart telescope to spot apps) and the design were inspired by the famed eye in the sky. But we are searching for things that are more close to Earth. So, what does Hubbl do? Let’s get an overview and then we will set out to discover a specific app for our needs.
- App discovery and recommendation is facilitated via collaborative #tagging.
- Hubbl uses social recommendations from the community of users to highlight popular apps for Android and iOS.
- It discovers apps from conversations in blogs, social media, and news outlets, and also friends.
Searching the App Universe
Let’s go on a search. I am in the mood to explore what fresh productivity apps are out there in the Android universe. Launch the telescope!
This is what Hubbl looks like. If you are tired of blue and red, you will love the nice shades of purple on the app. The Sky View is the entire universe of apps on Hubbl. Tap the screen to expand the view into the first of three screens on Sky View. The first screen covers apps that are in the news right now. They are probably being spoken about on blogs and social media. Hubbl says it captures real-time app mentions from what people are chatting about. Hmmm…the Writer app looks promising.
A small overview and then a more detailed screen tell you something more about the app. If you have logged into the free Hubbl account, you can give it a few rating points, add it to a to-do for download, suggest it to friends via Facebook and Twitter, and favorite it.
On the other two screens in this part of Hubbl, you can checkout what everyone else is liking and suggesting, and also what your friends are specifically recommending.
You can also wade into the Hubbl Stream by tapping on Suggestions from the main screen. You can toggle the view between Friends and Everyone.
The one thing you will notice in all app recommendations are the prominent tags in purple. Tagging apps is at the core of Hubbl. Let’s see what that’s all about.
Browse For Apps with the Help of #Tags
Hubbl takes the help of collaborative tagging to pigeonhole apps and their utility. You have to decide whether it makes it easier to find the app you were searching for. For instance, we started to search for a productivity app as an example, remember? Let’s get to it by clicking on Explore on the mains Hubbl screen.
It straightaway connects you to a few Collections. These are similar apps grouped together. I don’t see a productivity collection just yet, so I guess I will jump to the second screen which lists apps by tags.
There! I see a tag marked as #productivity. I can search for a particular tag of course, but when I see it right there why not tap on it and explore the 120 apps listed so far. That’s a long list and quite a few I haven’t come across before. I can tap on an app and get to the same overview and detail screen as before.
So, How Does The Hash Tagging Work?
App suggestions and hash tagging works very simply: when you suggest an app, as in the screen below, you simply attach an appropriate hashtag after searching and selecting an app. The app suggestion gets added to the pool, Hubbl curates the best, and the community benefits. Alternatively, you can think of hashtags as filters for the kind of app function you are looking for.
Nice Things I Would Like To Say about Hubbl
On Hubbl, the community is the filter. You are going to suggest an app only if you really like it…not otherwise. At least, that’s how community empowerment works. Remember, suggestions and contributions can put you among the Top Appstronauts, make you the pride of the herd, and help you earn rewards while you are at it. Unlike Google Play (whose search isn’t bad at all), Hubbl powers itself with a community. Discovering great apps with the help of friends is a blind plus.
The big question: how many apps has Hubbl curated so far from app suggestions and other sources? It’s at 365,000 and growing. Not bad at all for a service which is just a few months old.
When it comes to the Google Play Store (and Apple Store too), you need more than one ship to navigate its depths. Hubbl is another you can add to the fleet which also includes Appbrain, AppAware, Quixey, our very own Best Android Apps page, and many more. Does Hubbl help you to explore the deep space of apps? Download the free Android app (or the iOS app), zoom, and tell us in the comments.