It’s a platitude at this point that app discovery is a pain point for the Android Market, but many of us have found that the web interface/Android app combination of AppBrain goes a long way toward easing that pain. As good as AppBrain already was, they keep improving themselves, as evidenced by a major upgrade to their app yesterday.
The first change you notice is a really nice UI refresh, reminiscent of the Cooliris-designed Android photo gallery. It’s amazing the difference a fresh, updated look can make in one’s experience using an app.
But beyond polishing the looks, AppBrain has added social features to the app. Previously, somewhat buried in the web interface, users could find and follow other users. This functionality has been expanded and brought to the forefront in AppBrain’s app. I’ve found that browsing through the what friends have installed is a great way of finding great apps I hadn’t come across before.
Within the app, you can find and follow Facebook friends using AppBrain, and can browse and follow popular users (including, I have to note, yours truly). On the web interface, you can also connect with Twitter and Google friends (although it appears to me the Google functionality may not be working correctly at present). You can also follow any specific person whose apps are public if you have the link to their profile on AppBrain. For example, here are my apps. You can follow them by clicking on “Subscribe.”
Right now you can look at apps from people you’re following one person at a time; I’d love to see AppBrain aggregate these into streams that could be presented in a number of ways: latest apps installed by those you’re following; most installed apps among those you’re following, etc.
If you use AppBrain and would like to share the list of apps you use with other AndroidGuys readers, please post a link to yourself in the comments below!