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Is There a Yelp for Apps?

By (view all posts by gregkim)
at 8:56AM Monday October 31, 2011
under Product Review

We're living in an app world and I just don't know how to make sense of it. I just got my wife an iPad and she's looking for apps with which my 3 year-old daughter could play or learn. She complained she didn't know where to start.

So I started with Google and searched 'search engine for apps' and came across some interesting results. I also asked all my techie friends and parents to see which mobile app search engines or review sites they liked.

I've test-driven all the suggestions and here are my top picks.
  1. CatchFree.com (A-)

    Pros:
    • A focus on free apps so you know that you don't have to shell out any money
    • The site is easy to read and navigate with helpful categorization according to what you want to do so it's easy to understand (e.g.; 'manage my personal finances')
    • Category-specific ratings tables makes the insights more relevant (vs. some generic ratings dimensions across all categories). They also provide a community forum for votes, Q&A and comments.
    • Search filters on the right side for optimal apps by Operating System (OS) and Mobile Device.

    Cons:
    • Although there's iOS and Android app coverage and the popular ones are covered, the volume of apps available seems limited where an obscure search might not yield results.

  2. catchfree

    chomp


  3. Androidapps.com (B+)

    Pros:
    • Simple search engine box with filters for App Type, Price, Categories. Great breadth of coverage.
    • Covers all devices and operating systems. Although the name just implies Android app coverage, it does showcase iOS apps. It's associated with Yahoo! (although I'm not sure in what capacity), which is probably a good thing.

    Cons:
    • Not the cleanest or most intuitive interface. A bit jarring in design but provides good search results and content.

  4. Chomp (A-)

    Pros:
    • The homepage is a simple search engine box similar to Google to start your search.
    • Trending searches are shown to make you aware of other popular apps.
    • After you do your initial search, there are filters for App Type, Price, Categories making it easy to narrow down what you're looking for.
    • Simplest design out of all the sites that I evaluated.

    Cons:
    • Only shows nine results per search results page so it's hard to get quick overview of all of the apps if there are 100+ results.
    • Covers only iPhone and Android which is probably good enough--but a weakness if you have another operating system.


  5. chomp2

    chomp1


  6. Uquery.com (B+)

    Pros:
    • A nice, clean user interface with intuitive search results page featuring filters on the left for Price, Rating, Categories. There are also Suggested Apps on the right hand side.
    • When clicking through the search result, there's a nice overview of the app including screenshots.
    • If you sign in with your Facebook account, it helps uquery's recommendation engine.

    Cons:
    • It seems to only focus on the iTunes App Store (which is good for me since I have an iPhone 4), but it's missing out on the large Android market.


  7. Quixey (A-)

    Pros:
    • Simple homepage with search box and recent searches.
    • A user-friendly design that is similar to the Google search results page with useful search filters on the left side. If you click on 'Advanced Filters' there is a unique filter to see if the app has been reviewed by a major publication such as TechCrunch.
    • Broad operating system coverage and broad content coverage (thousands of apps). Seems to have the greatest volume of mobile apps of the sites that I evaluated.

    Cons:
    • No major drawbacks other than the look and feel of the site.


quixley

quixley2


If you have any thoughts on these or have come across some other great sites/apps to find and evaluate mobile apps, please let me know in the comments.