My goal with CatLog was to write the best darned Logcat app for Android, and in that regard I think I succeeded. But as long as the adequate but inferior aLogcat was ahead in the search results for “logcat,” I felt like my work was incomplete. After all, most people will just download the first app in the list without trying any others. How can I really say that I’ve written the “best Logcat app for Android,” when it’s not most people’s first choice?
Starting sometime this month, though, it finally happened – CatLog now shows up first in a search for “logcat” on the Android Market:
I’m ecstatic that my app is finally getting the recognition I think it deserves, but, to be honest, I’m also kind of puzzled as to why it suddenly managed to nudge ahead of aLogcat. Comparing the Market statistics of the two apps side-by-side, it’s not clear what makes CatLog stand out:
|Released:||Aug. 2010||Nov. 2009 (?)|
|Updated:||August 14, 2011||March 6, 2011|
|Android Version:||1.5 and up||1.5 and up|
There doesn’t seem to be a big difference in the ratings (4.7 vs. 4.6), and aLogcat has a considerably higher number of downloads and reviews. So what changed? I think this blog post might provide a clue. It seems that, besides downloads and ratings, Google’s ranking algorithm also takes into consideration the retention rate of an app – i.e. how many users actually keep the app installed, as opposed to those who just download it.
It’s impossible for me to know what aLogcat’s retention rate is, because Google doesn’t make that information public. But I do know that CatLog has 40,834 downloads and 15,487 active users, which gives it a retention rate of 38%. This is the highest retention rate out of my most popular apps (30% for Chord Reader, 18% for Japanese Name Converter, and 20% for Pokédroid), so I’m guessing it’s also higher than whatever aLogcat has. Considering that aLogcat was released almost a year before CatLog, maybe it initially attracted a large user base that later started flocking to my app? Who knows.
Alternatively, it could be the fact that I’ve recently updated CatLog, whereas aLogcat hasn’t been updated since March of 2011. If that’s the case, then aLogcat could quickly regain the lead by just releasing an update. This seems unlikely, though, given that such a system would be easily gameable by just releasing a new update every day. As I noted in a previous post, those kinds of shenanigans made the “Just In” section of the Android Market practically useless, so Google eventually nipped that practice in the bud.
Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see that quality apps do eventually drift to the top. Similarly, I’ve watched one of my other apps, KeepScore, jump from 11th to 3rd in a search for “score keeper.” I’m hoping that, by just being the quiet valedictorian in the back of the class, it can eventually make it to the top. CatLog proves that that’s possible.