Perhaps a cake is in order? A giant, all-encompassing cake, because reaching one billion installations is a fairly monumental milestone in the app world. In fact, only one app has ever done it, and it pushed past this barrier fairly recently.
According to a Thursday Google+ post from Android head Sundar Pichai, the Gmail Android app has officially crossed the one-billion installation mark.’It’s important to realize that Google’s figure just counts installations, not app updates. So no, Google isn’t double- or triple-counting every time someone upgrades to a new iteration of the Gmail app. Also, Google’s figures don’t include any installs of the Gmail application for iOS users, so it’s likely that the app’s total installation base has been larger than one billion for some time now.
The Guardian notes that there are quite a few app families that have surpassed the one-billion installation mark together, like all of the Angry Birds games that collectively reached one billion downloads in 2012. But there isn’t a single app that’s been able to do it by itself until now.
The app might have a bit of an unfair advantage, as it is pre-installed on a number of Android devices. Interestingly, the other apps that typically accompany Android phones — Google+, Chrome, Maps, YouTube, etc. have yet to reach the one-billion mark on their own. That’s perhaps due to the various changing configurations of default apps that Android has enjoyed over the years. Gmail, however, has been a constant since Android’s debut in 2008 on the T-Mobile G1 Android smartphone.
What we’d be curious to see: Just how many of these one billion Gmail downloads represent unique, active users? That’s likely a bit smaller than one billion. Additionally, when are these one-billion-plus Gmail installations going to get Google’s alleged new Gmail redesign?