How To Best Share Android App Recommendations with Friends

By Ryan Whitwam

Sure, you could spell things, and have them search around in their Android Market app, but there are better ways.

As Android continues to expand, you're likely to see family and friends turning up with shiny new Android handsets. If you've got a reputation as a tech savvy individual (and let's face it, you're reading Tested), these people will start asking you questions. Frequently, the answer is going to be to download an app. Then you have to go through the process of instructing your acquaintance to search for it in the Market app; maybe you even need to spell it for them a few times. Then you have to worry about having multiple apps with the same name. It can be confusing for the uninitiated. 



Tap the Attach App button at the top of the screen. It might feel like the app hangs a bit here, but that's just because you have a lot of apps. Seriously, you don't use all those do you? Anyway, once it loads up your app list you can scroll down at pick the one you want to send. You can only Bump one app at a time right now, but that's usually all you need.  

So now the magic happens. With both phones open to the app tab in Bump, you do a little fist-bump with the phones in your hands. The devices will pair, and send the relevant data over. On both phones you will have to confirm you want to connect to each other. The recipient of the app will then see a box with the name of the app, and buttons for Download or Cancel. Tapping download will open the appropriate page in the Android Market directly. If you are sending an app, and not receiving one, your phone won't get anything in the exchange. Just tap Cancel to go back. 

This is a really slick way to share apps, but both parties have to have Bump installed. This isn't the best way to share apps with everyone, but if you are often suggesting apps to certain people, it makes sense to get them set up with Bump. 


AppBrain widget 

Next, you need to make that page public and make sure your Android-newbie friends have that link. When logged into AppBrain on the desktop, click the My Apps link at the top. On the right side of you app list, click the bubble to set your list to Public. Below that you will get a URL you can distribute to friends. You can also create a widget for embedding on a website that has a scrollable list of your apps.  

You can refer your more independent friends to this page, and tell them which app to grab. This, of course, required that they know how to get the app from AppBrain. You can also use the sharing features in AppBrain to send links to specific apps on AppBrain. This is useful if you don’t have the specific app installed on your phone. 

App Referrer

App Referrer generates QR codes with Barcode Scanner 
Barcode Scanner installed. When you launch this app, it will generate a list of everything you have installed. Once again, this might take a few seconds.  

Before you proceed, you need to decide how you will be sharing this app. One of our favorite methods is to generate a QR code right there on the spot. Almost all phones have Google Goggles installed by default now, so the other phone should be equipped to utilize the QR code. So go to Menu > Settings > Referral Type, and select QC Code. Now tap the app you want to share, and have your compatriot scan your screen with Goggles. This novel method usually makes people chuckle. The QR code will send them to the correct Market page to download the app. 

If you are not in the same room with the person you're looking to share apps with, you can still get them an easy to use link. On the screen with the QR code, hit Menu > Share and you will get various options for sending the Market link. Depending on the app you choose, you may get the QR code, Market URL, or both. The QR code is great if your friend will see it on a monitor that they can scan with their phone, otherwise make sure they get the Market URL.  

You can also set Market URL as the sharing method in the App Referrer settings. If you do this, the URL will just be added to your clipboard. Opening this URL on a phone will link to the Market page just like scanning the QR code does. Similarly, if you know you're going to want to share the app via SMS, you can pick that in the settings. The app will then automatically launch the Messaging app with the Market URL in the text field.  
Check out the various options in this app to see what's best for your situation. We feel like App Referrer is a great option because the person you're sending apps to doesn't need to have it installed like they would for Bump. 

There are certainly more way to do this, these are just the ones we have used with success. The Android Market can be tough to navigate, and with app developers spelling app names in "unusual" ways, and multiple apps with the same name, these methods can be a big help. How have you gone about sharing Android apps with friends? Let us know in the comments.