Mobile

GetJar buys Infrinity to improve app discovery

GetJar, the largest independent mobile app store, has acquired Infrinity, a startup that developed a sophisticated recommendation engine to improve the discovery and recommendation of apps.

Discovery is a huge problem still. GetJar has 75,000 apps in its mobile app store, and it isn’t always easy for users to find what they want. It can also be frustrating for developers to figure out how to reach the right users for their apps.

GetJar’s own survey, released in March, said that only 25 percent of users say they use an app store to discover new apps, according to Ilja Laurs, chief executive of GetJar in San Mateo, Calif.

With the Infrinity technology, GetJar can help its developers sell more apps by doing a better job recommending them to users who are more likely to use them and by helping users discover apps. GetJar has seen more than 1.5 billion downloads to date. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Infrinity stood out at DiscoveryBeat 2010, our conference on discovery where Infrinity first got discovered by participating in our Needle in the Haystack discovery business contest. The company was formed in July 2010 by Dave Smiddy (pictured above, left in the left-hand photo) and Anand Venkataraman (pictured right, in left-hand photo).

Infrinity attacks the problem of discovery — how to get your apps noticed when there are tons of competitors available — through the use of inference, friends and affinity (that’s where it gets its name from). It helps developers find like-minded users for effective cross-promotion opportunities. Infrinity has created a computer model that tracks the similarities among users. It weighs a large number of variables, then calculates which users are most alike. It can start with a very small number of users, acquired through traditional means. Then the algorithms take over and locate a large number of similar users.

The tool was useful to developers and publishers, who could identify the best set of users for each of their apps. And it was useful to users to find apps that would most appeal to them.

“It’s been a fun, fast and ‘effin’ furious ride,” Venkataraman said. He will join GetJar as the vice president of discovery technologies. “Mobile app discovery continues to be one of the biggest problems in the evolving mobile applications market.”

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