Personalization app Zedge brings game recommendations to Android

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Zedge, a personalization app that offers free ringtones and wallpapers, was one of the top five most searched for free Android (s goog) apps in 2011 according to Chomp with some 16 million active users. Now, it’s looking to use all the data it has on user tastes to help recommend free Android gaming apps via a new Mobile Games Channel on its Zedge app. The channel represents another effort to help users wade through their app options on Google Play, which has gotten a recent rebrand and facelift but still presents problems for many users looking to discover apps.

Zedge’s game channel will use machine learning and clustering theory to group users together based on their interests and preferences. It will blend in anonymized data from its ringtone and wallpaper channels to come up with a personalized list of free apps for a users. Over time, the self-learning system will improve as it gets a better sense of what a user wants.

“We have a lot  more data and good technology along with recurring usage that helps us refine and home in on better discovery for users,” Jonathan Reich, Zedge’s COO told me.

Users will get a list of 100 or more apps including screen shots, descriptions and ratings. They’ll be able to buy the apps from the Zedge app and launch and manage them from the app as well. Zedge’s users are already avid gamers, compared to average Android users. That audience has helped attract advertisers like Ngmoco, Gameloft and Pocketgems. Zedge hopes to make even more money by inserting some sponsored recommendations within the games channel.

Zedge, which is based in New York City and Trondheim, Norway, has been building up its behavioral platform for the last 20 months. The system takes a look at page views, previews, downloads, geographic and handset information to deliver up the best suggestions. That’s helped it become a major destination for people looking to personalize their phones with 200 million downloads of mobile content a month. Zedge’s Android app has had 31 million installs to date, with 2 million new downloads a month.

Zedge has an interesting take on app recommendations. By weaving in broader data from the way users interact with ringtones, wallpapers and notifications, Zedge has a chance to get a better sense of what a user might be interested in. Many services look at what apps a user already has but that may not give a full picture of their tastes or what apps they may be interested in. And because Zedge has got a lot of users and recurring usage, it can continue to get smarter over time. It’s also another reminder that even with the improvements to Google Play, there’s still plenty of opportunity in trying to help people find good Android apps.

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James D

Pesonalization and predictive recommendations aren’t that hard – it’s just a matter of getting and understanding the data available.

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