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Phones

Google Play store offers personalised app recommendations

Google Play is getting personal by bringing tailored app recommendations straight to your Android phone.

Google Play is getting personal by bringing tailored app recommendations straight to your Android phone. This special treatment has been available on the web version of the Google Play store for a month or so, but now you can be pampered by the mobile version too.

Enter the app section of the store today and you'll have the option to swipe through to a carefully curated list of apps that have been chosen for you to peruse and download at your leisure. Apps are picked out according to what's popular in your geographical area and what other users like who've downloaded the same apps as you.

If you're a Google+ user, you may also find that apps are recommended to you on the basis of the app choices of those within your circles. If it seems to be sending a load of chaff your way, you can easily tell recommendations where to go with the cross of death, and hopefully Google will learn from its mistakes.

App discovery has never been particularly easy on the Google Play store, or the Android Market as it was formerly known. Trying to find something worth downloading is like hunting for treasure without a map in lawless territories. And with no clear idea of what form said treasure might take. And no definitive proof any treasure even exists at all.

In the past Google has tried to help you navigate its labyrinth of an app emporium by providing staff recommendations -- like digital versions of the lovely handwritten notes you find scattered across the shelves of Waterstones.

It's not always terribly helpful though to use the app choices of complete strangers with different needs and interests to inform your own, so this latest move makes much more sense. The new recommendations section seems to throw up a lengthy, diverse list of apps, which ranges pleasingly from the obvious to the more obscure.

Probably not aiding the discovery of buried apps is the fact that many people skip straight over to the Most Popular lists, meaning the top 50 apps get downloaded repeatedly, making it hard for those not already on there to gain any real traction.

It's easy to imagine that there are thousands of apps -- some brilliant, many not so brilliant but still useful -- out there that are lurking in the dusty nooks and crannies and dank basement of the Google Play store without ever being downloaded. Here's hoping this new feature will mean you need no longer spend a lifetime panning app gravel before you strike gold.

You could also try downloading the recently launched Amazon Appstore onto your Android device, which is less of a free-for-all than Google Play, and also gives you an otherwise-paid-for app gratis on a daily basis.

What has Google Play recommended for you? How else can app discovery be made easier? Scroll down the comments or swipe over to our easily discoverable Facebook page to let us know.