Google and other major tech companies write open letter to Donald Trump


Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple are among the companies currently penning an open letter to President Trump opposing the recent immigration ban, according to reports.

The executive order was issued by Trump last week and immediately restricted entry of Syrian refugees to the U.S. as well as temporarily suspending those from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Many US technology companies have since offered support to those who have been adversely affected by the move, while Google pledged $4 million to immigration services. CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the ban had directly affected more than 100 of the company’s employees.

Now, these tech companies, alongside consumer goods, finance, energy and manufacturing businesses, are said to have united to state their opposition more directly, in a letter which may be published this week.

Here’s a draft of the letter via Recode:

Dear President Trump,

Since the country’s birth, America has been the land of opportunity – welcoming newcomers and giving them the chance to build families, careers, and businesses in the United States. We are a nation made stronger by immigrants. As entrepreneurs and business leaders, our ability to grow our companies and create jobs depends on the contributions of immigrants from all backgrounds.

We share your goal of ensuring that our immigration system meets today’s security needs and keeps our country safe. We are concerned, however, that your recent executive order will affect many visa holders who work hard here in the United States and contribute to our country’s success. In a global economy, it is critical that we continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world. We welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days in how the Department of Homeland Security will implement the executive order, and we stand ready to help your administration identify other opportunities to ensure that our employees can travel with predictability and without undue delay.

Our nation’s compassion is a part of what makes it exceptional, and we are committed to helping your administration identify approaches for thorough screening without a blanket suspension of admissions under the U.S. Refugee Admissions program. While security and vetting procedures can and should always be subject to continuous evaluation and improvement, a blanket suspension is not the right approach.

Similarly, we stand ready to identify ways of helping to achieve your stated goal of bringing clarity to the future of the 750,000 Dreamers in this country under the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in a way “that will make people happy and proud.” Removing these protections by barring renewals would effectively end the program and eliminate the ability for these Dreamers to work and live without the fear of deportation.

The business community shares your commitment to growing the American economy and expanding job creation across the country. We hire both thousands of Americans and some of the most talented people from abroad, who work together to help our companies succeed and expand our overall employment. As you contemplate changes to the nation’s complex and interconnected immigration policies, whether business and employment-based visas, refugees, or DACA, we hope that you will use us as a resource to help achieve immigration policies that both support the work of American businesses and reflect American values.

What are your thoughts on the ban and the response from tech companies? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

Facebook may be coming to a TV set-top box near you


If you like to watch videos on Facebook with your phone or tablet, you may be soon get that same experience on a bigger screen. A new report claims that Facebook is working on a video-themed app specifically for TV set-top boxes, along with plans to license long-form TV content.

See also:

How to permanently delete your Facebook account

May 20, 2016

The report comes from The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources. It states that this new app is part of Facebook’s overall plan to move to a “video-first” business. The company has already been pushing its Facebook Live video streaming features for some time. An app specifically for TV set top boxes like the Android TV-based NVIDIA Shield could also generate more ad revenues for the company compared to ads displayed on its standard News Feed.

The story says that in addition to video content created by its many users, Facebook may also try to license out longer form TV content from media companies. That could also include scripted shows and sports events that would be exclusive to the Facebook app.

All of this sounds like Facebook wants to compete head-to-head with the current leader in the online video space: Google’s YouTube. In fact, the company is reportedly experimenting with adding brief video ads inside its live videos. Unlike YouTube’s ads, which normally appear just before the main clip begins rolling, Facebook’s video ads would start about 20 seconds after the main clip begins, and would last about 15 seconds. The story claims Facebook plans to run these ads as part of all of its videos eventually, but there’s no word on if the company also plans to offer an option to turn the ads off for an extra fee, as Google does with its YouTube Red service.

How do you feel about the prospect of watching Facebook Live videos on your big-screen living room TV, with ads? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Facebook wants to end forgotten password problems


Facebook is aiming to help make forgotten passwords less troublesome. Today, it will roll out a service which will help GitHub users regain access to their accounts in the event that they forget their password — and it doesn’t involve resetting it.

Typically, lost password retrieval can involve answering security questions, which can sometimes be guessed, or sending an email or text message, which aren’t encrypted. Worse still, if someone has access to one email account it often allows them to hijack other accounts through that aforementioned email retrieval process.

“We need something better—a way to recover access, using identities and services you trust, regardless of whether they are associated with an email address or a phone number. This process needs to be easy, secure, and respectful of your privacy,” wrote Facebook Security Engineer Brad Hill, announcing the service.

See also:

Facebook helped make Chrome pages refresh up to 28% faster

4 days ago

Facebook’s new solution involves setting up a “recovery token” in GitHub which can be re-authenticated via Facebook should you forget your password — similar to how current two-step verification methods work. This would then be forwarded to GitHub with a time-stamped signature allowing users to securely restore their account.

The recovery token would be encrypted, and Facebook and GitHub wouldn’t share any of the user’s personal information — only that the two accounts are connected. It’s said that the process would take just “few clicks in your browser, all over HTTPS.”

Facebook is testing the feature in collaboration with GitHub and is seeking feedback from the security community, offering cash rewards to anybody who finds vulnerabilities in the program. Facebook has also made the specification available for other websites to make use of in the future.

There’s no denying that there are problems with online passwords and security currently, and this seems like a shrewd move from Facebook. If it works as intended, and is adopted by other sites, the company would make having a Facebook account itself an attractive proposition for those trying to stay secure online — which probably isn’t something you would have said about it previously.

Android emoji – everything you need to know

Emoji seem to have taken over the world, with emoticons quickly becoming a dying tongue around the inter webs. And for good reason; these little icons offer a convenient and friendly way to express emotions. Even turds look cute when pictured as emoji!

But what about us Android users and enthusiasts? You may recall that for a while emoji just showed up as lame squares, and in some cases that continues to be the case. This is because the first major phone maker to adopt these was Apple, in an attempt to attract more users from Japan (where emoji first became popular). It didn’t take long for this to explode and become the amazingly popular trend it now is, with most smartphone users adopting the cute hieroglyphs.

See also:

Where did emoji come from?

November 2, 2016

Want to learn more about how emoji came to be? We have gone through the whole story in a separate post, which you will find right above. What matters here is that Android now has support for emoji (and has for a while, of course), but your experience will vary depending on multiple factors. Our plan here is to take you through an extensive guide on the Android emoji experience. Shall we get started?

Not always supported!

While Android does officially support emoji, these cute icons don’t exactly work with every device. Emoji officially entered the Android world with version 4.1 Jelly Bean, but those were black and white versions of the colored symbols. It wasn’t until Android 4.4 KitKat that Google decided to integrate colored emoji to their operating system. Then came Android 7.0, which brought compatibility with Unicode 9 emoji.

This means your experience will vary depending on the device and software version you are touting. It’s worth noting the vast majority of people are somewhere above Android 4.1, though. According to Statista, only about 2% of Android owners were using anything under Android 4.1 as of September 2016. This means most of you can enjoy emoji at least to a certain extent.

You probably know whether your phone sports emoji support or not, and how these would look. Are you seeing a bunch of squares when iPhone users send you messages? Do you see simpler icons in black and white? You know the deal.

Apps with emoji support

Regardless of whether your phone supports emoji or not, the experience won’t be as streamlined as we wish. Some applications will get emoji support only with certain Android versions. The guys over at caniemoji.com have put together a table clearly showing where each of the most popular apps stand. Let’s take a look.

Android emoji – everything you need to know

We will go through some of the most popular apps with native emoji capabilities.

Facebook Messenger

This tool, which has replaced every other form of communication for many of us, comes with integrated support for emoji. There is a button on the bottom corner of the screen, when you open a conversation, which shows four little faces. Just tap on it and you will be presented with a plethora of emoji to use on your conversations.

Furthermore, if you are worried about having emoji support for text messaging, you will be glad to know the app can also replace your stock SMS app.

Download Facebook Messenger


In WhatsApp you can simply open a conversation and tap the happy face icon located on the bottom-left corner of the screen. There’s all kinds of emoji there!

Download WhatsApp


We know it’s hard to get people to use Hangouts, but also know the true Android fans out there stay true to Google’s messaging service and utilize it whenever they get a chance, so we just had to add this service here.

Getting to the emoji is easy. Open a conversation and look at the bottom-left corner of the screen. There will be a happy face there, which will unveil all supported emoji with simple tap.

Download Hangouts

Google Messenger

Most Android phones nowadays come with Messenger pre-installed, but that wasn’t always the case. Some phones still prefer going with alternative apps. The good news is anyone can get this application from the Google Play Store.

This SMS app is simple, yet feature-full. But let’s get to the point – one of its wonders is native emoji support. Simply open or start an SMS conversation and look towards the bottom-right section of the screen. Once again, the smiley face will be there. Tap it to see all available emoji.

Download Google Messenger

Google Allo

Allo is Google’s own WhatsApp-like service. The application links to your phone number and Google account, offering all kinds of neat messaging features. Among them is full emoji support. These can be found on the bottom-right corner of a conversation screen.

Download Google Allo


Snapchat and its disposable nature also make for a good emoji conversation. You can even create your own emoji characters! They call these “Bitmoji”, but that is a whole other story. The point is you can totally make use of all those happy faces within the app.

They become available when creating a snap or sending a message. Within the message screen, simply open a conversation and the option will appear on the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Download Snapchat


Still using Skype? You can enjoy emoji too! Just open any thread and find it on the bottom-left area of the screen, next to the text input option.

Download Skype

Keyboards with emoji support

Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with app solutions. All these services have emoji options in varying areas and deal with them in different ways, making for an inconsistent experience. Using emoji straight from the keyboard may be a better alternative. There is a sea of keyboards with emoji support out there, but we will give you a few of the most popular ones to get you started.


Want to stick with Google applications? This is the tech giant’s very own alternative and works like a charm, especially when trying to send cute turd emoji to your friends. The main feature here is the ability to search for these, as opposed to simply browsing through them. If you know what your emoji looks like, you can just type in a description and find the right icon (e.g. poop).

The process takes a couple steps. Find the comma button, located towards the bottom-left area of the keyboard. Press and hold, then select the smiley face. There will then be a search option right above the emoji, if you would rather conduct a search.

Download Gboard


Swiftkey continues to be a favorite among many an Android user, mostly for its magical prediction and customization prowess, but it is also great for sending emoji. Just press and hold the enter button (bottom-right area of the keyboard) to see all your options.


Download Swiftkey


Swype is another very popular keyboard. And yes, it does also feature emoji support.  It is not the most convenient way to emoji, but support is there. Simply start typing something like “smile” and the respective emoji will appear in the prediction options.

Keep in mind this is the only paid app in this app. It costs $0.99, but they do offer a free trial.

Download Swype
See also:

Guess which country uses the most emoji every day? ?

September 10, 2016

Wrapping up

You are now ready to join the emoji party! How hit the comments and tell us which emoji are your favorite. Also, how do you use emoji? From apps? From keyboards?

Facebook helped make Chrome pages refresh up to 28% faster

Facebook has revealed how it contributed to Google’s Chrome browser to improve its efficiency. According to the Facebook code blog, its changes have helped make Chrome page refreshes up to 28% faster, with 60% less validation requests, and more battery efficient.

When you refresh a page, instead of downloading all of a website’s resources again, the web server instead checks what your device already has. This is known as validation, and it’s the reason that refreshing a page is faster than accessing it for the first time (similar to how app caches work).

However, Google says that “On mobile devices, the high latency and transient nature of mobile connections mean that this behavior can produce serious performance issues.”

See also:

Facebook update brings the new Slideshow movie-maker to Android

12 hours ago

Thankfully, in Chrome 54 Facebook helped optimize the validation process by reducing what the server needs to validate.

“This new behavior maximizes the reuse of cached resources and results in lower latency, power consumption, and data usage,” wrote Chrome software engineer Takashi Toyoshima on the Chromium blog. Here’s a look at its effect in action:

Now, this doesn’t mean accessing pages in the first instance is faster, only reload speeds when they have previously been opened. Still, I doubt anybody’s complaining about faster refreshes with less power and data consumption.

What’s more, it’s effect also works in Firefox. Nice work, Facebook.

Facebook bringing ads to Messenger’s home screen

Messenger is a very popular messaging app, as it is used by over 1 billion people across the globe every month. That’s why Facebook wants to monetize it as much as possible, and that’s why it is now bringing ads to the app. The company recently announced that it is launching a small test in Australia and Thailand that will bring ads to the Messenger home screen. Luckily, these won’t show up in a conversation.

Users in Australia and Thailand will start seeing ads in the coming weeks, and if all goes well, Facebook will expand them globally sooner or later. But the company did state it hopes to learn a lot during the testing period, and that it will first make sure it can deliver the very best experience to advertisers and users before considering expanding to other markets.

See also:

Restart your Facebook and Messenger apps if they’re currently killing your battery

2 weeks ago

According to Facebook’s blog post, the company believes that by bringing ads to Messenger, users will be able to “enhance the discovery of new experiences” and interact with companies they are interested in if they choose so. Advertisers, on the other hand, won’t be able to message users directly unless the user is the one who starts the interaction by sending a question or comment to a certain company.

I think it’s safe to say that despite what Facebook thinks, no one really wants to see ads in Messenger. But nevertheless, they are coming. We’re at least glad to hear that they will stay on the home screen and won’t appear within a conversation you’re having with someone, as that would really be intrusive.

Hugo Barra to lead Facebook’s Virtual Reality team


This article originally appeared on our sister site, VR Source.

Ex Xiaomi Global Vice President Hugo Barra will join Facebook to lead its virtual reality endeavors. The announcement arrives via a Facebook post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg and follows just three days after Barra announced his resignation from Xiaomi.

“Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform,” wrote Zuckerberg. “They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future.”

The Facebook post included an animated image of Barra and Justin Timberlake Zuckerberg sitting side-by-side in what appears to be the Facebook offices. It features the same style as the digital avatars Facebook showed off at its Oculus Connect conference last year.

“Hugo’s in China right now,” wrote Zuckerberg. “So here we are together in VR. It seems fitting.”

See also:

Xiaomi admits growing too fast, no longer sharing yearly sales figures

2 weeks ago

Barra previously worked at Google supporting its Android efforts before leaving to help build Xiaomi’s international reputation from Beijing. He joined in 2013, in a year which saw Xiaomi sell an estimated 18.7 million smartphones. In 2015, Xiaomi confirmed 70 million smartphone sales.

Announcing his split with Xiaomi, Barra said the “singular environment” had taken a huge toll on his life and health and that he wanted to be back in Silicon valley near family and friends.

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

Welcome to the 174th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the headlines from the last week:

  • Adobe is reportedly working on an app that will let you edit images with your voice. They released a YouTube video that demonstrates the tech at work. In the video, the man crops the image, flips it around, and then shares it on Facebook. It’s not currently available for anybody, but the demo is definitely promising. It could be months or years before we see something like this hit the market, though. We’ll just have to be patient for right now.
  • Google Voice is apparently re-imagining itself again sometime soon. Those who still use the service have likely seen a notification on their dashboard that a new version of Google Voice is coming to consumers. We don’t know what the features are yet, but they are definitely coming. Some have even had Google Voice call them and leave a cryptic message about speed dial. It’s been a while since Voice got an upgrade so here’s hoping it’s awesome.
  • Facebook made headlines this week when it was reported that the social media network may start using mid-video ads. This means that you’ll see an ad in the middle of your video instead of at the beginning or the end. The feature is currently in testing so Facebook can see how users react to it. We imagine that it’ll make its way to Facebook proper if the blow back isn’t too bad.
  • Fitbit has been busying buying up smartwatch companies. Apparently, they are also working on an app store. According to CEO James Park, they want this task completed as soon as humanly possible. They didn’t say why, but the popular conjecture is that the company is working on its own smartwatch. That’s where all the signs are pointing. We don’t know much yet, but we’ll keep an eye out and let you know when something happens.
  • The Google Hangouts API will be shutting down in April. The announcement came late last week and had some people legitimately worried about the service. Basically what’s happening is that a bunch of apps that use the Hangouts API will be denied access. We’re talking about the apps in Google Hangouts video chat that puts a mustache on your face or makes fun sound effects. The good news is that the app itself isn’t going anywhere.

For even more Android apps and games news, releases, updates, and more, check out this week’s newsletter by clicking here. There you can find a bunch of information that we didn’t have space for here. You can use the form below to sign up for the newsletter and we’ll send it to you every single Sunday. Don’t forget to check out the Android Authority app for even faster updates!

Android Apps Weekly!
Subscribe to the Apps Weekly newsletter.

Star Wars: Force Arena

[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Star Wars: Force Arena is an action-adventure game featuring everyone’s favorite galaxy from far, far away. The game features third person, freemium style combat mechanics. You’ll have to assemble a team from 80 available characters. You’ll also be able to form guilds with friends, upgrade your characters, and you’ll be able to compete with other players to earn in-game rewards. It’s a freemium game through and through so make sure to temper your expectations accordingly.

Download now on Google Play!

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps WeeklyPosture

[Price: Free]
Posture is an application that tries to modernize your posture. The app theorizes that we look at our phones an average of 85 times a day. As it turns out, we’ve probably been doing it all wrong. The app uses the sensors in your phone to detect when you’re holding the phone in a neck-straining position. It will then let you know and you can adjust accordingly. The ultimate goal is to improve your posture while using your phone. It’s completely free if you want to try it out.

Download now on Google Play!

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps WeeklyYu-Gi-Oh Duel Links

[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links is the latest game in the popular card collecting franchise. Like most games that came before it, this title is a card collecting title. You’ll have to collect cards and build decks that you’ll then use to duel against opponents. There is a campaign mode as well as an online PvP as you’d expect. The mechanics are simple enough to learn but still has a bit of depth for those who want to seriously play. However, it is a freemium game and certainly plays like one.

Download now on Google Play!

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps WeeklyWeather Wiz

[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Weather Wiz is a new weather app that’s also still in beta. It covers the basic features, including temperature, the feels-like temperature, forecasts, UV indexes, and other things like that. Like most, there are also weather widgets, support for weather tracking for multiple cities, and more. The design is simply done and actually looks pretty good. There are also themes that you can apply if you want to that cost $0.99 each. It’s a solid weather app and it could get even better before the beta was over.

Download now on Google Play!

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps WeeklyGrumpy Cat’s Worst Game Ever

[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
It was only a matter of time before someone cashed in on the Grumpy Cat meme. The game is called Grumpy Cat’s Worst Game Ever and it’s essentially a game of mini-games. You can do a little fishing game, eat food, break boards, and various other little games. You can get high scores on leaderboards, win little in-game items, and share your progress with your friends on social media. It’s a pretty fun little time waster if you need something to kill a few minutes.

Download now on Google Play!

Related best app lists:

If we missed any big Android apps and games news, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.

Facebook’s apps dominated non-game downloads from Google Play Store in 2016

If you downloaded an app from the Google Play Store in 2016 that was owned by Facebook, you are not alone. A new report claims that apps owned by Facebook made up the top four non-game apps downloaded from the Google Play Store during all of 2016. The report also stated that during the fourth quarter of 2016, app revenues from the Google Play Store came in at $3.3 billion, up a whopping 82 percent compared to the $1.8 billion in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2015.

The report comes from the research firm SensorTower, who claim that according to their data, the main Facebook app was the most downloaded app from the Google Play Store in 2016. It was followed by WhatsApp in second place, Facebook Messenger in third and Instagram in fourth.

The rest of the top 10 most downloaded Google Play Store apps included Snapchat, Clean Master, SD LED Flashlight, SHAREit, imo and CM Security in 10th place. In terms of the most revenue, LINE was tops for non-game apps in the Google Play Store in 2016, according to SensorTower. Tinder, Pandora, HBO Now and Line Manga were next in line.

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

A few times per year, the folks in Mountain View let us know a rough idea how many Android apps have been downloaded and installed on phones and tablets around the world. At last count, the number was in excess of 65 billion app installs in the year leading up to Google I/O 2016 – but we’re here to look at a select few, the apps that have made it to the 1 billion install mark.

With an estimated 1.4 billion active Android users globally, it is actually fairly impressive that these few apps have cracked the 1 billion install mark. This billionaire’s club wouldn’t be there without you, so let’s dive in and make sure you’ve got them all installed.

What constitutes an install?

First and foremost, the following numbers are a collective total of all installs on all devices. This is limited to apps that come from, or updated from the Google Play Store. This number is not limited to the total number of individual users that have installed an app – if you are like most of us here at Android Authority, you’ve had several Android devices over the years, each one counts as a unique install of the apps you choose.

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

However, each install only counts once per device. Uninstalling an app and then installing it again on the same device still only counts as a single install.

When you look at it this way, those 1.4 billion active users account for far more devices over the years. We won’t guess how many Android devices have been active across the years, but I can tell you I’ve had more than 20 myself, not including review units, thus I count for at least 20 installs of Gmail and so much more.

It is also very important that we mention you do not have to actively head to the Google Play Store and select these apps for install. When you turn on your brand new Android device, each of those pre-installed apps count toward the global total.

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

To this end, it should be no surprise whatsoever that the first app to reach 1 billion installs was Google Play Services, an app that lives on practically every Android device around. You may consider this to be cheating. While it would be wrong of us to disagree with that opinion, we’re going to side with Google on this one, if the app is on a device, it should count as an install.

Taking it to the next level, something we are not going to discuss in-depth today, a more realistic count to help identify apps of value would be app usage stats, instead of simple install numbers.

History of 1 billion installs

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

It all began back in 2014, several Google apps cracked into the club, with Facebook joining the group before the year ran out.

2015 expanded the list by another dozen apps. Then in 2016, just one app, that’s right, one app hit the 1 billion installs milestone this past year.

November 2016 marked the summit of a different peak, Google Chrome crossed the 2 billion installs mark.

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Before we actually share the list, let’s cover one glaring observation. All of the 19 apps that have more than 1 billion installs are from just two companies, Google and Facebook. Most of the apps from Google, as we mentioned above, should not be a surprise, as they come pre-installed on most every Android device on the market.

To be clear, Facebook may currently own their four apps on the list, but that was not always the case, they may have purchased one or two of the now top apps. Those purchases were not cheap, either, does anyone remember the multi-billion dollar purchase of WhatsApp Messenger?

Enough about that, let’s see what the biggest apps in the world are. For the sake of ease, let’s put these in order of when they hit that magic mark. It all started back in January of 2014…

Google Play Services (January 2014)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Sometimes the most important app on your device is the most boring of them all, and that is absolutely true of the very first app to ever hit 1 billion installs, Google Play Services. In its current form, Google Play Services is an absolute core application for the Android experience – at least for Google’s Android experience.

Bottom line, the majority of Google’s apps and services rely on Google Play Services to function on your Android device. If you have the Google Play Store or any other Google app on your device, there’s a good chance you are one of the billions of us with this app installed.

Install Google Play Services now

Gmail (May 2014)

Another unsurprising app on this list, it is highly unlikely that you have a Google account that is not an active Gmail address as well. This is not to say that you use Gmail as your communications tool, but looking at the numbers, there is a good chance that you do.

As one of the best web based email services around, the mobile application provides nearly all the same bells and whistles, just hidden in an easy to use interface on your mobile device.

Install Gmail now

Google Maps (May 2014)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

For many, there is no better tool to identify a route, look up the best place to go for pancakes or simply explore the globe than Google Maps. Serving multiple functions, including navigation on the road, Google Maps comes pre-installed on many devices, and is then installed freely by those that do not have it already.

Install Maps now

YouTube (July 2014)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

The top online video streaming service offers up a top of the line mobile app, YouTube is not only a highly installed application, it’s also highly utilized. Creators and consumers alike put the YouTube app for Android to work on a daily basis.

Install YouTube now

Facebook (September 2014)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

The social media giant, Facebook, marked the first non-Google application to 1 billion installs with their default social media app. Facebook is one of those social networks that is near unfathomable how large and popular it is, with millions of active daily users. Share, create, consume all that is Facebook all on your Android device.

Install Facebook now

Google Search (December 2014)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

I must admit that this was my only big surprise on this list, I would have thought that the tool attached to the service that made Google a company in the first place, would have been the first app to 1 billion installs.

Without a doubt, Google Search is used on almost every Android device on the planet in one manner or another, but the actual Google Search app may not be the tool of choice. At least not with Google Now and Assistant taking over.

Install Google now

Google+ (January 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Beginning its existence as a web based social media platform, the expansion to Android has helped spur several changes to the platform itself over the years. Offering a more controlled and often long form social platform Google was eager to out-do Facebook in the social media world – Google+ remains a popular network, and the current set of tools in the Android app offer nearly all required to keep you connected to your circles on the go.

Install Google+ now

WhatsApp Messenger (March 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

On their upward swing as a very popular messaging service, WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook in early 2014. A year later, the app for Android broke the billion install threshold. While many took to social media for basic communications, the emergence of more than a few great messaging services marked a shift from the more expensive SMS messaging tools.

WhatsApp certainly proves that there is room in nearly any saturated segment to change things up a bit.

Install WhatsApp now

Google Text-to-Speech (March 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

As the default text engine in your Android device, Google Text-to-Speech is the back-end tool that reads aloud everything from your Maps navigation to your favorite book or everything, if you have the accessibility tools enabled.

This is a great example of an app that performs a task many of us may have thought was just built-into the operating system. Well, that’s what pre-installed apps on Android are all about, essentially building them into the phone, but giving a way to update them on an individual basis instead of needing a new OS.

Install Google Text-to-Speech now

Google Play Books (June 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

It started with the Kindle – at least we will give it credit for now – e-books became a thing and Google was eager to get their extensive catalog of expired copyright books onto mobile devices. Google Play Books became the delivery method of choice, later adding purchasable books through the Google Play Store.

Once again, we are looking at an app that is usually pre-installed on phones and tablets, but we’d like to believe that many of you are avid readers, at least readers of Android enthusiast websites, obviously.

Install Google Play Books now

Messenger (June 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Facebook returns to our list with their messaging service, Messenger. Often called Facebook Messenger to avoid confusion, Facebook knew that people liked to chat, and the app that made ‘chat heads’ popular scored Facebook another billion installs.

Install Facebook Messenger now

Google Hangouts (June 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Did someone say chat? Sure, Google Hangouts can do that, but what if we add in voice and video conferencing, would that increase your usage of the service? Another billion installs says that at least a few of us use the service. Text chat that integrates across mobile and your PC, plus saves the chat logs into your Gmail, then voice and video tools to put up to 10 people face to face all sounds good to me.

My personal favorite communication tool, if I must be honest, Hangouts has long been more than just a chat client to me, it was there to bridge the gap when my wife and I lived apart for a bit, while we worked on my immigration. Giving us one tool to communicate all day in many different ways was about as good as living apart can be. Thank you Google.

Install Google Hangouts now

Google Chrome (June 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

The web, seriously, do I need to say anything here? Google’s web browser made it to one billion devices, and I’m sure it’ll get to many more before it runs out of steam. Admitting that there are many great browsers available for Android, Chrome remains the only one on the list, so far. (It’s early 2017 now, let’s see if the rest of the year changes that.)

Install Google Chrome now

Google Play Games (August 2015)

Video games on your mobile device experienced a huge usability bump when Google rolled out a way to share your progress, compete with friends, record your gameplay and, most important for many, enjoy cloud saved game progress so you can play across devices. You probably have Google Play Games installed, and you probably know how it works better than I do, but if not, you might be missing out.

Install Google Play Games

Google Play Music (August 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

It has been said that the adage ‘music tames the savage beast’ is why I listen to so much music, or why I am so tame, either way works for me. Google Play Music has been my music player of choice on Android since I found a way to install it before it was even available in Canada. I moved to where it is available and have not looked back.

For me, Google Play Music is where I store my personal music collection, but there is the streaming side of it that I have not partaken as yet. Whether you take the time to upload your collection or just stream from the massive library Google has on hand, Google Play Music is likely installed on your device.

Install Google Play Music now

Google Play Newsstand (August 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

When Google expanded the Google Play Store and added multiple side apps, magazines and news needed a home, enter Google Play Newsstand. As a pre-installed app on many devices, there are plenty of ways to use the service, for free or to consume paid content. Whether replacing Flipboard or just reading the latest issue of Retro Gamer, Newsstand is your Android access to a load of great content.

Install Google Play Newsstand now

Google Play Movies & TV (September 2015)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon streaming and YouTube. Sure, there are other ways and places to consume video on your mobile device, but Google Play Movies & TV is the app that likely came pre-installed on your device anyway. Stream your shows or download for offline viewing, if you’ve acquired it through the Google Play Store, this is the app you use to watch it.

Install Google Play Movies & TV now

Google Drive (October 2015)

Here, hold this for me. For many of us, Google Drive represented a solid cloud storage platform for our files. Add in the ability to make and create office documents and this powerful tool became a crucial part of many people’s workflow.

Please remember that your paid Google Drive storage space can be used to store more photos in Google Photos, or save more attachments in Gmail.

Install Google Drive now

Instagram (August 2016)

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Another billion dollar idea took off in 2012, Facebook purchased a budding social platform which took over four years to both find its way to Android then reach a billion installs through the Google Play Store.

Instagram is the leading example of the old days where developers created apps for iOS first, us Android users despised this approach, and we hope that a billion installs later we proved that we’re a powerful group. Instagram is a powerful image sharing platform, famous for having crazy filters and cultivating the selfie craze.

Install Instagram now

I suspect you found this list fairly predictable, in fact, I wonder if there are any apps on this list that are not on your Android phone and/or tablet.

What’s next?

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

There are a handful of apps we expect will jump to the 1 billion install club relatively soon. Particularly, and somewhat boringly, Google’s various apps that have been split out of the Android OS itself. Android System Web View is a solid example, an app that is only recently split out, but is, or will be, on all Google flavored Android devices moving forward. That same idea goes for Google Now Launcher, the Homescreen app found by default on an ever growing list of phones – or did the Pixel Launcher take over?!?

Google Photos is my personal favorite that I’d like to see succeed. Especially now that it’s almost as powerful as the old Picasa used to be for sharing and multi-user access.

Android Pay, Google Daydream, Google Messenger, Android Auto, GBoard – Google Keyboard, Android Wear, Google Street View, Google Calculator, Google Clock, Google VR Services, Google Phone and Google Contacts are all possible candidates for the 1 billion install club under Google’s app restructuring.

Funnily enough, the Google Play Store is not yet at 1 billion installs, the app that provides access to all other apps should get there soon. Of course it used to be the Android Market, so we’ll forgive it for now.

A look at the billion-install club: the most installed apps

Outside of Google’s domain, Snapchat, Twitter, Pandora, Netflix and various weather apps have some potential to reach 1 billion, eventually. It’s possible the slew of games that come and go will see a few that stick, there are certainly a few franchises that have multiple games that have exceeded 1 billion combined, Angry Birds, anyone? Maybe Minecraft.

I leave off posing the question to you, what app will be next to make it to 1 billion installs on Android?