We are currently experiencing an explosion of applications. It's like a Cambrian explosion of life.
It is especially visible in the consumer area, where the number of available apps for a single platform approaches 500,000 (Apple App Store). Android Marketplace is not very far away. Google App Marketplace and Chrome Web Store are slowly following. Even in the pretty conservative enterprise sector we see tens of thousands apps available.
The sheer number of available apps is mind blowing. Also in particular categories the selection is huge.
It's quite a paradox, but the abundance of apps does not make the choice simple. Quite the opposite. One may find it quite difficult to chose the best app for his/her needs in a given category.
The descriptions in software stores are often minimal. It's hard to identify how the applications really differentiate. Reviews allow to filter out the worst apps, but they rarely provide any additional information for choosing among the triage survivors.
You probably remember the menace of the great information glut we've started to perceived some time ago. Now it seems it is reappearing in a new space.
Hopefully we have learnt from the struggle with the general threat and will able to apply tried methods to the new problem. Search, information extraction and collaborative filtering seems the most promising candidates for taming the beast.
The number of information about applications is growing rapidly. They are dispersed and disorganized, though. The volume of social signals is on the raise, too. Now "the only" thing one should do is to put these resources into use for making the selection process simpler. It won't solve all the problems, but it should help.
Alternatively we can always chose apps on the basis of their screenshots... ;)
Monday, June 27, 2011
The curse of application glut