Seek and ye will Discovr!

What should I do next?” — in this query pops up in our mind, the moment a particular activity has finished. It could be a film, a course of dinner, a book, a TV programme...the moment one ends, one tries to move ahead to something. And if one’s experience has been good, hopefully something else. Of course, getting the answer to that query is not easy. One can read reviews, consult friends, log into social networks and see “what’s happening” ...or one can simply download an app and let it work out things. Well, at least in the case of recommending films, music, apps to download and even people to follow on Twitter.

Making this happen is the Discovr series of apps for iOS devices (we are waiting for Android and WP avatars) which focus on providing you similar alternatives to a particular product or service. And do so in a particularly striking manner. All you have to do is enter a name or a term and the app will pull out alternatives and display them in an atom like structure, with your entry in the middle and the alternatives around it, linked to it with branches. You can select an alternative to either find out more about it or to get alternatives similar to it as well. Keep doing this for a while and you will end up with a network of choices, rich in detail and easy to understand, interlinked magically. Yes, and all you have to do is enter a few words (maybe even one) to get it all going. That is the magic of Discovr and all its linked databases. Currently, you can use Discovr apps to discover (pun intended) music, films, people and apps through the following:

Discovr Music
Price: R110
Available from: iTunes App Store
Love a band and want to hear more like them? Or maybe just want to know more about an artiste? Just open this app and enter the name of the person in question. The app will instantly show you other performers similarly to the one you have entered. To know more about each, just double tap on their names. This will let you an entire section devoted to them, containing their brief biographies, song excerpts, album reviews, tweets and even further links about them. If you are still curious about the performers then just tap on any of those who have been shown and a new list of artistes will spring up around it. India artistes are well represented too — we got results for Kishore Kumar, Adnan Sami and AR Rahman, but yes, this app works best for those interested in international artistes. We wish we could search by songs and album titles too, though.

Discovr Movies
Price: R55
Available from: iTunes App Store
This is for film seekers as its name reveals. And the closer you stick to Hollywood, the better your results will be. We searched for Devdas and ended up getting some very interesting related options including Pretty Woman and Silver Linings Playbook, but staring harder at the results revealed that the app had identified a South Indian film with a similar title for the foundation of its search. Move to Hollywood and the results are quite good, with not only similar films being shown up in the network but also with a synopsis, cast details, reviews and clips from the film. A neat touch is the presence of two sections ‘In Cinemas’ and ‘Our Picks’ which show recent films and those shortlisted by the developers. We do miss the Bollywood element here, and yes, searching by actors would have been kind of cool, but even without that, this is one must-have app for all iPhone/iPad toting film buffs. 

Discovr Apps
Price: R110
Available from: iTunes App Store
So you loved Temple Run and want to download other apps that are just like it — well, just enter Temple Run in the search box of the Discovr Apps box and see the alternatives spring up all around you in a veritable tree of apps. And just as in the case of films and music, you get not only the names of similar apps but also their details about them, screenshots, related tweets and if available, even videos about them. We actually would have loved reviews and ratings in this particular app as that would have added a lot of value. Still, this remains the best way to discover apps on iOS and perhaps the one app that should be made compulsory for all mobile operating systems. We wish there was something half as good on Android and Windows Phone.

Discovr People
Price: Free
Available from: iTunes App Store
This is the only app in the Discovr suite that is available free of cost. And it certainly is the best starting point for any one who wants to make their way around the mad, mad 140-character world that is Twitter. You can search for people by their Twitter handle or their actual names and get very very good results. A tap on each recommendation reveals the person’s Twitter profile, their recent tweets and mentions, the people they themselves are following and the tweets they marked as favourites. You also have the option to follow people from within the app (a Twitter login is needed, though). Incredibly useful for anyone who is trying to figure out the best people to follow on Twitter. We would have loved having the option to search by subject, though, but then that’s just us being hard to please. 

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