Application browsing and installing using the Big Board sidebar for GNOME has made a lot of advances recently. One change that I think turned out to be quite cool is that there is now a kind of “advertisement” section at the bottom; basically, it displays popular applications that you don’t currently have installed.
When you click on the link, you’re taken to an application page (Thunderbird), with the full description, links to other popular applications…but most importantly – an “Install Now” link. Right now it’s fairly basic; on Fedora it just pops up a terminal and “yum”, but it does work.
The “advert” section turned out to be such a nice way to discover an application and install it that the next plan is to extend the current search box to not only search applications you have installed, but also the advertisement section so you can see uninstalled ones. It feels like the relevance of the section is high in general because the popularity metric is software other people actually use, as measured by open windows, rather than say whether or not the package is just installed.
There’s a demo “Calendar” stock (mostly to flesh out the infrastructure for logging into Google):