Tipping Pitches: Technology: OneForty: The Unofficial Twitter App Store


Monday, September 28, 2009

Technology: OneForty: The Unofficial Twitter App Store

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I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a Twitter newbie, but I hadn't made the full commitment to participating with my personal account until very recently.  I am quickly discovering how important it is to be properly equipped with the finest third party applications currently available.  Until now, I was tweeting naked.  Or at least in my underwear.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't completely application ignorant.  I knew some existed.  I did not, however, know that there were over 1,500 available.

The problem then becomes, of course, that of being overwhelmed by a lack of information.  What applications are available?  What would be best for my purpose?

Until now, the way I've gotten this information is through Google searches.  Top 10 lists have become my friends.

But those lists are only so helpful.  How accurate is the list?  And while I may be looking at the top 10 business tools, what if I want analytics?  Games?  Music?  More searching was necessary.

Until now.  Thanks to Mashable.com, I was able to get an invite to the OneForty.com Beta.  A couple of days later, I was granted full access and took an immediate test drive.

First Impressions
Clean.  Easy to navigate.  All of the information that I need is at my fingertips.  Extremely helpful.

Along the left hand side of the page is a list of the top 10 most popular applications.  Ten not enough for you?  Click on a link to view the top 20.

To the right of the Most Popular apps on the home pages is a featured application that may not be getting much love.  A nice little addition to dig up apps that may otherwise be difficult to find.  I'd assume that an app can reach "Featured" status simply by catching the eye of the site's management, and isn't related to metrics.

Below the list of "Most Popular" is a list of "Newest Apps."  Could be helpful, although this may change rapidly as app development for Twitter catches on.

Below the "Featured" app is a list of the 10 "Essential" Twitter applications.  I find it interesting that this list, though there are some similarities, includes many applications that are not listed under "Most Popular."  I'd be interested in knowing the metrics for determining both.

Click on a link to view the "Essential" applications by category (Desktop, Mobile, Business, Networking, Entertainment, Monitoring, Media Sharing, Link Tools, Analytics and Random).  Again, not sure how it is determined whether an application is given the "Essential" label, but I'd assume that it cannot be influenced entirely by ratings.

You can also view applications by category.  Once again, it is not clear to me how they order these applications.  The top two for Advertising, for example, garnered five stars each, the third one star and the fourth five stars.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that users can't easily manipulate these rankings, but I'd love to know how they are determined.

OneForty makes it very easy to learn more about an application and try it out.  I've tried out several through this site.  Click a link to view the application's profile, and you'll get a full description of the application complete with ratings, screen shots, and reviews.  At the top is a large, green, inviting "Try It!" button that I find myself clicking regularly.  Very smooth transition from OneForty to application.

What's Missing?
This is Beta, so I recognize we aren't seeing the final phase of this website intended for full public consumption.  And while there is very little missing now, I'd love to see a couple of additions.  First, some type of explanation -- even if vague to prevent manipulation -- about how the rankings for Most Popular and Essential are determined would be helpful.  Also (and this is a complaint that I have with the Apple App Store), it would be great to be able to sort by average review, number of adds through the site, and number of reviews. 

Parting Shots
Such a nice addition for Twitter and its users.  While I feel that it is nearly flawless now, the number of applications that it is organizing is at a very manageable number (currently 1,580, according to the site).  Will Twitter application development become as popular as iPhone application development?  If it does, OneForty will likely encounter many of the same problems faced by the Apple App Store, unless they make some changes.

Even so, it's a five star first effort for OneForty, and I look forward to following the site's evolution and using it to find cool tools to maximize my Twitter experience.


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