It’s true: people spend more time looking at their smartphone screens nowadays than the world around them, but there’s an interesting world behind touch screens that consumes users too easily these days.
A new study says that we should thank Facebook, Google, Pandora, Apple, and Yahoo for our touch screen addictions. Really. In that order.
The new addicting mobile apps study, conducted by user survey company ComScore, says that Yahoo’s Finance app and Apple’s 3D Maps app place in the top 10 most-used mobile apps, but rank at the bottom of the top 10. Internet radio service Pandora, Facebook’s Instagram, and Google’s Play Store and Gmail stand in the middle. At the top of the most-used mobile apps chain stands Google’s YouTube (second place), used by 84 million users monthly, and social networking site Facebook (first place), with 115 million users monthly. Google’s search app also ranks in the most-used mobile apps list with 70 million users monthly.
ComScore’s study shows that, indeed, there are five Google apps that make the most-used mobile apps list (YouTube, Gmail, Google search, Google Play, Google Maps), while Facebook has two that make the list (Facebook app, Instagram). Apple, Pandora, and Yahoo do not compete in the most-used mobile apps contest, though they provide respectable contributions in the world of tech that can’t (and shouldn’t) be overlooked.
At the same time, however, some explanation should be given for these results. Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Google search are popular apps on both Android and iOS, but this is because Google’s search engine has been around for as long as many twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings can remember. Apple’s made Bing its default search engine in iOS 7, but a number of iOS users can’t escape the search engine dependence they’ve had with Google for many years.
Google Maps is one of the best (if not the best) maps applications in the world, and Apple Maps, as improved as they may be, will need a few years (if not longer) to get where Google Maps is in its current state. Apple drummed up its own Maps app to “wean” iOS users off Google Maps, but eventually had to recommend Google Maps as an alternative maps solution after the Apple Maps Fiasco with a few “disappearing” streets and landmarks.
At the same time, however, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Gmail are utility apps – mobile apps that users need on a daily basis for directions and email. On Android, Gmail is the current default email app (compliments of Android owner Google). The same can be said for Google’s Play Store.
The reason why the Play Store is so popular is because 1) there are far more Android users worldwide than iOS users, and 2) Google won’t allow other app stores onto Android. The whole reason behind why Google and Samsung arrived at a cross-licensing agreement back in February after Mobile World Congress 2014 pertains to Samsung’s Magazine UX and Google’s belief that Samsung’s Magazine UI was “hiding” Google services. In other words, there’s not much room in Android for anyone but Google.
This is not to downplay the results given regarding the Play Store, but the presence of the Play Store in the top 10 apps should be put into perspective. If the iOS App Store made it into the top ten most-used mobile apps, for example, we wouldn’t be surprised. Where do users go in the mobile world to find, purchase, and download new apps, anyway?
There are two confirmations that stand out in ComScore’s study. First, YouTube stands second in the most-used mobile apps on mobile – a trend that Google is looking to continue with its new YouTube Music Key and Play Music Key service that will grant users access to both Google Play’s unlimited music as well as YouTube’s offline and audio playback services (along with the original video-viewing experience) for $9.99 monthly (total). This study should prove encouraging to Google, although it’s not surprising to Android users who can’t think of any other online service that can rival YouTube.
Last but never least stands Pandora as the undisputed top Internet radio service on the Web – meaning that the company’s Internet radio service has proven to be more of a hit than Spotify (its closest competitor) and iTunes Radio. Google seems interested in tackling the Internet radio arena and has acquired Songza (from what we know), but we’ve heard nothing about Songza recently. Samsung’s Milk Music Internet radio service is an excellent one, but Samsung never intended for it to be a top contender (after all, the company only allows its own smartphones and tablets to access the service).
With Google taking five of the top ten slots, what’re the rest of Mountain View’s competitors to do? With Google owning Android, the most popular OS worldwide, we don’t see Google’s sweeping mobile campaign coming to an end anytime soon.