Friday, August 6, 2010

Easier installing of apps for every website!

It's only a month ago we launched the "Fast Web Installer" feature for AppBrain, and we have seen tremendous uptake of it. Many users are enjoying the great experience it adds on top of the traditional AppBrain syncing mechanism. Even CNN quoted yesterday "Get your apps through AppBrain.com".

However, in our opinion apps can never be installed easy enough. I personally don't like how I often find myself discovering an app on a blog or developer's page, and then have to go to www.appbrain.com and find it again to install it with the fast web installer. It still is a much better experience than using a barcode scanner or typing the name of the app again on the phone, but it would still be nice if this can be more efficient.

Today we implemented an extension to the current AppBrain page that is a great alternative: the AppBrain install link.
Let's take the recently updated PayPal app as an example. The page about this app on AppBrain is http://www.appbrain.com/app/com.paypal.android.p2pmobile. This page gives the usual description, screenshots, related apps, user comments and changelog, and the important blue Install button for appbrain users. This page is great as a source of information about the app for a browsing user, but not so suitable as an install link.

For this purpose, we added the install URL which can be obtained by adding "?install" to the app page, so in this case that would be: http://www.appbrain.com/app/com.paypal.android.p2pmobile?install

If PayPal, or a review blog, would put this link on the page about this Android app, it makes available the AppBrain install experience with the best of two other options, the QR code (which is not useful when browsing from the phone), and the direct market link (which is not useful on the desktop):
- For desktop browsers, the traditional application page is shown, but with a large popup that explains how to install either via AppBrain or use a barcode scanner:

- For Android phones, the appbrain page is skipped altogether, and the market page is loaded directly, allowing for an easy install.

As an added benefit for developers, driving installs through this page increases the likelihood that an app will show up on our "Hot apps" list.

We hope many websites will start using this new type of link and make the web an even better place to discover and install Android apps!

Mathijs / AppBrain team.