There are a lot of apps out there in the world of Android – no less than 700,000 of them, in fact. So searching through that lot, trying to separate the quality affairs from the time wasters, can be a pretty thankless task.
Luckily, ITProPortal is here to provide a helping hand with our series of articles in which we’re rounding up the top Android apps in various categories.
This is the fifth article in the series, and you can find the previous instalments here: The best Android utility apps, the best Android news apps, the best Android reference apps, and the best Android productivity/organisation apps of 2013.
This time, we’re looking at the world of social apps. Of course, we’ve included the obvious such as the Facebook app, but also less well-known social services such as Gibberbot, which can be used to keep your social chatting private via encryption.
Read on to see the best social software available on the Play store. All of these apps are free, too, which is always a bonus.
Badoo isn't known as the "flirting app" for nothing. Badoo uses your phone's GPS to locate other members in your area, displaying their Badoo profiles which contain likes, dislikes, and photos.
You can use the app to chat with other members and arrange offline meetings. Badoo boasts more than 170 million members around the world.
Social networks thrive with a reliable app, and Facebook's for Android is solid. The Android app has the quintessential Facebook-branded interface but some unique functionality that's absent in Facebook's iPhone app, such as a side-scrolling preview pane of recently shared photos in the dashboard area.
Armed with the right software, it's pretty easy for someone to tap into your mobile phone network and read all the text messages and chatting you're doing via your device. Gibberbot obscures all this data so that it looks like "gibberish" to a hacker. This free, open source chat client offers fully encrypted chatting over Gchat, Facebook, and Jabber. It must be used in conjunction with Orbot, the official Tor client for Android, in order to get through firewalls and filters to blocked chat services and servers.
Social networks need mobile apps to thrive, and Google+'s is a fine start for the platform that arrived back in 2011. The app taps into conventions established by other online social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, while finding some of its own strengths at the same time. The Google+ app works pretty well due to a smart design and neat interface.
The most robust photo sharing social network, which is now under the control of Facebook, came to Android after two years of iPhone-only love. Instagram for Android lets you put folksy filters on dull photos with a single tap, and quickly share them on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
Social corkboard site Pinterest benefits from a great Android app. For the uninitiated, Pinterest is another popular network of ways to discover, collect, and share "beautiful things you find on the web."
Plume is the best Twitter client for Android, despite some weak points – notably a touch of sluggishness and clutter, as we discussed in our full review. Plume uses the horizontal, column-based stream seen in many Twitter clients, but it adds a home tab with widgets to access Trends, Lists, Favourites, and the Search bar. There's also plenty of room for customising your interface, from the font size to the colour of your timeline.
Tumblr is another popular microblogging platform with a great app that lets users quickly share and caption photos, quotes, chats, links, and more.
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms, boasting an absolute mountain of plug-ins. If you wish to blog while away from your computer, this WordPress app will let you do just that on your Android phone. Bloggers can quickly create drafts, edit posts, and approve comments without the need for a Mac or PC.