What kickstarter could teach Apple about app discovery

A few weeks ago, Kickstarter fairly quietly launched the ability to “follow” other Kickstarter users. I can’t find a blog post to link to, though the feature is mentioned in their “This week in kickstarter” post just before they had their 3rd anniversary post. I’m fairly certain I noticed it, but didn’t think much of it until they called out the “friend finder” they had also created (with some kind of notification in the site’s header).

The long and the short of it is that I linked-up my facebook account and now receive an email when certain of my friends back a project on kickstarter. So far, sometimes this is just noise, but sometimes, as with the AmplifiEar project a couple of days ago, I find a new project that a friend is backing that I’ve never even heard about.

Obviously, the conclusion here is that I want this feature for the app store. Apple already put “social” into iTunes with Ping, and I’m a bit worried that they’re going to say that experiment failed, and not carry it forward into the app store. On the other hand, they bought Chomp recently, presumably acknowledging that they have a problem with app discovery.

Maybe the correct place for this type of thing is in Game Center, where we already have game recommendations. (Although there is no indication why those games are recommended.) Of course we also have a friends list there. You can even see what games they own, and the ones they’ve played most recently! Why not add the option to get notified when they actually buy these games? Ideally, I want this in email form, because I’m not going to remember to open up the Game Center app with any real regularity. (And a push notification is just silly, for this, I think.)

While I’m requesting Game Center features. (Don’t get me started.) I sure wish I could embed my Game Center profile in this blog post. (I’ll just include a screenshot here instead.)