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Summary:

The new App Store offering Chorus leverages user recommendations to give iPhone users an alternative to Apple’s list of best-selling apps when shopping in the App Store. And that’s good news for consumers who are bewildered by all the choices in Apple’s ever-growing storefront.

Chorus from envIO Networks

There is no shortage of “best of” lists when it comes to iPhone apps. In addition to the storefront’s own popularity ratings, persistent surfers can find the 35 best apps of 2009 (through August), the best apps for Christmas and many, many more. But enVIO Networks is hoping to use social recommendations to separate the wheat from the chaff in Apple’s 100,000-plus-deep storefront. And in trying to solve the growing problem of discoverability in mobile app stores, it’s blazing a trail that other developers are sure to follow.

The Andover, Mass.-based startup surfaced last month with Chorus, an app that enables consumers to see what apps their friends are using and to make and share recommendations. While enVIO has yet to say how many users have downloaded Chorus, the company claims it saw “thousands of user interactions” in its first month with more than 25,000 purchase and download attempts.

enVIO trotted out November’s most-recommended apps today, unveiling a list that generally consists of familiar titles like Shazam, Gowalla, Loopt and Google Earth. At the top of the list, though, is Eliminate Pro, a slick-looking first-person shooter that takes advantage of Apple’s recent addition of in-app purchase functionality to allow users to spend real money and increase energy levels. Those recommendations haven’t been enough to boost Eliminate Pro into the top 10 list of Chorus-inspired app purchases — not yet, anyway — but they’re a refreshing alternative to the “most popular” standard by which App Store offerings are generally measured. And they’re a solid indication that developers themselves may solve the problem of discoverability that is already plaguing the app store space.

  1. App discovery is a hard problem and social is a great vector. We’ve been working on a few others the deliver equally good (and statistically much more accurate results):

    1) Several times a day we rank the most-talked-about apps based on the comments of hundreds of tech bloggers worldwide (including GigaOM) – http://www.appstorehq.com/hottest-iphone-apps

    2) We constantly monitor the Twitterstream for app mentions to create a current snapshot of the hottest apps zeitgeist: http://www.appstorehq.com/iphone-apps-twitter

    The app tide keeps rising and there’s still lots of room for innovation in this space – thanks for shining a light on the issue.

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  2. “The app tide keeps rising and there’s still lots of room for innovation in this space”

    Couldn’t agree with your more, Chris!

    Check out our new iPhone/iPod Touch app available as a free download: App Popular. It also aims to help with app discoverability and we have two exciting new features coming to version 1.2 (plus overall improvements) which we are submitting to Apple today.

    iTunes Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id333206686?mt=8

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