With Appsaurus the brilliant minds at Hello, Chair Inc. have hit upon the perfect combination of machine learning, usability, and fun. Full stop.

If you are a die-hard fan of the app search/comparison meta-game, as I am, this app is for you. When you hit the Explore button, a selection of five apps are displayed. The user simply taps his or her favorite app from the list and another similar screen appears, with a different assortment of apps. With each press, Appsaurus learns more about the types of apps you like and the recommendations start to get better and better. And that’s just the beginning. To expedite the recommendation process, you can swipe any of the apps to mark them as favorites or to block them. This whole process is surprisingly fun! You start to see more of your favorite apps to mark, which shows you the app is learning, but you also start to see recommendations for apps that you don’t own, some of which look quite interesting. After my first few minutes of use, I already found three apps that interested me and this is coming from a guy that owns over 3000 apps already.

That describes the core functionality of the app, but there are a variety of tweaks for users to experiment with. One important feature is that you can browse your Favorites list at any time and add your own manually. That’s right, you don’t have to wait hours for your favorite app to show up (although my favorite, Trism, showed up in a matter of minutes), you can simply do a search and add it to your list yourself to improve the recommendation process. You can also tap that favorite app to provide a list of “Apps Like This”, which is an indispensable tool. Yes, you will sometimes get a list of five apps with no “winner” on it, but you can simply reload for a new set of possibilities. You can also create customized lists that disallow certain categories (bye bye “Weather”), include specific search terms, and look only for apps below a certain price point. The real beauty of this app is that you don’t “start over” every time you open the app, instead it saves all of your data up to and including your entire path used to get where you are. By that I mean, you can backtrack through all of your previous exploration at any time, not just for the current session to find a certain app.

The only gripes I have are as follows: I would have liked the ability to mark apps of interest. You can always mark them as a Favorite and refer back to that list later, but then they could potentially taint your results. Besides, for me at least, the Favorites list becomes cumbersome fairly quickly. I would really have liked an option to disallow Lite versions, as well, since they are duplicative, but it’s not a major concern. I also can’t comment on how useful the app will be to users that start with very few apps, because I have no data on that (although my assumption is that this app would be next to useless for someone hasn’t used a lot of apps, since there would be no data to mine). None of these issues keep the app from being extremely useful for me, so I’ll continue to use it and perhaps hope for an update, at least on the Lite issue.

The user interface is elegant, the controls are intuitive, and the app does exactly what it professes to do – it finds apps that you might like. If you know about apps and you want to improve your app collection, in a way that caters to you directly, you can’t do better than this app.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon


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