wheresmyappMicrosoft has released a new Windows Phone app that lets users search for Windows Phone versions of the most popular iOS and Android apps, and suggests alternatives if they’re not available.

But the unusual twist is a feature that lets users send messages to the developers of absent apps, appealing to them to make their apps available on Windows Phone.

The app, called “Where’s My App?” was released over the weekend, with a core set of search and recommendation features.

For example, a search for Instagram brings up a set of highly rated “best alternatives” including Instance and WPGram. A search for Flipboard touts the app as “coming soon” and links to the recent announcement by Nokia that the popular newsreader app will be arriving on Windows Phone soon along with Vine and Path.

The messaging function is included in a “request app” feature accessed from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. As described by Microsoft, the “request app” feature lets users “send requests to app developers, encouraging them to develop for Windows Phone.”

The feature seems a little sketchy to me — it’s not clear how these requests are delivered, for example — but assuming it’s legit, it’s a notable case of Microsoft trying to mobilize its own users to make the case to these app developers. I’ve asked a Microsoft representative for more details on the feature and how it works.

Microsoft previously released an Android app called Switch to Windows Phone with similar search and recommendation features.

“Where’s My App” for Windows Pone still needs some work. I’ve encountered at least two weird error messages in my initial usage, and the limitation to the top iOS and Android apps means that you won’t necessarily find a reference to your own favorite app. A search for my favorite radio app, Stitcher, doesn’t bring back any results or suggestions, for example.

But if you’re already using Windows Phone, the “Where’s My App?” app is at least worth checking out.

We spotted the app via WPCentral and Neowin.

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  • bizdevguy

    You know your plans are going well when you release begware. I can’t imagine messages generated by this will have any impact on development decisions. This is really scraping the bottom.

    • coip

      You call it begging, social movement scholars call it mobilization. It’s an effective strategy. The Windows Phone app store already has all of the apps I need, including several fantastic exclusives that iOS and Android doesn’t have (pretty much anything from Nokia), but if others want to appeal to developers to port over other apps, I applaud Microsoft for facilitating it.

  • mamacita42

    Beg? Wow what’s with the negative spin here? This is getting old!

    • SilverSee

      ‘Lobby’ would be a more appropriate term, but ‘beg’ seems to better fit the narrative that Microsoft cannot find success in mobile and that its customers are losers.

      • mamacita42

        Hmm I think the verdict is still out in that. Seems like only yesterday when Apple fans use to say nobody will want an Android. Well we know how that turned out lol.

        • Guest

          I think he means the media narrative, not his personal belief. He’s agreeing with you basically, and is right that “lobby” would have been a more appropriate and neutral term to use. Beg is obviously pejorative and intended as clickbait.

          • mamacita42

            And just how were you able to decipher whether its his personal belief or the media narrative? Some type of esp technology please share lol. You are so right about the click bait.

  • Patrick Husting

    Great title Todd! :o)

  • dude32

    I’m not a Windows fan by any means, but this is a great idea. Taking direct user feedback and passing it back to the appropriate parties is a very customer centric approach.

    • Guest

      Sorry have to disagree. All this does is make all requests for apps look like astroturf now. It’s counterproductive.

      And it’s sad. What next: Mark Penn coming up with TV ads attacking companies that don’t build Windows Phone apps.

      I think the title was generous: it didn’t say the app “whines”.

  • Stephens_Chris

    This is similar to Amazon. They have a link for books without Kindle versions. The one click process alerts the publisher of the book that you wish they had a Kindle version.

    • Bill

      But that doesn’t fit the narrative, which must reinforce that MS is failing generally and particularly in mobile.

      • Stephens_Chris

        Yes, you are correct, please excuse me. I also have been having a hard time today figuring out why people must compare Amazon to Apple. I find their businesses to be too dissimilar to compare. I am told this too is unacceptable behavior.

  • Charles

    I would say demand. This is awesome. Just the other day I gave a mean email to US Bank who has a blackberry app, but no windows phone app for managing your account. Given Windows phone has IE 10, so most mobile websites work best on winodws phone, but come on get with the times. Get me an app in the windows store. They have one for paying your credit card balance (even has access to checking account to pay with), but no mobile banking app. So frustrating. This app is awesome!

  • pfgw

    Currently available in U.S. only !!!

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