June 5, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Androinica, like most Android fans, loves helping users find great apps. It turns out that Google may be thinking about adding a feature that would make that task much easier.
According to a source who spoke with BusinessWeek, Google is toying with the idea of adding “user-to-user gifting and recommendations.” If such a feature is added, Android users would be able to send messages to encourage friends with Android devices to download or try out an app. Users could then be taken to the Android Market listing for that app to gain more information or download.
The ideas of sharing and recommending aren’t new, as BusinessWeek points out that this strategy has been successful for the Zune Marketplace. Zune’s sharing tool lets users listen to a song a certain amount of times before being forced to buy if they want to keep listening. Perhaps a similar Android sharing tool could make paid apps provide full-featured demos that last 24 hours. Plenty of Android fans use the buy-browse-and-return technique to evaluate paid apps, but this would eliminate the need for a lot of unnecessary Google Checkout transactions.
It would be interesting to see how sharing would play out with Android. Online retailers like Amazon have greatly benefited from their recommendation system, so this could be a great way to increase sales and visibility of Android apps. Details are obviously scarce at the moment, but the “gifting” aspect seems promising and recommendation aspect almost necessary.