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AP Photo/Eric Risberg
His company is behind a few of them.
THREE FIRMS DOMINATE

America’s 10 most popular apps of 2015

By Mike Murphy

While Google’s search homepage is the most popular website on the internet, Facebook’s app is what Americans are using most often on mobile. The social network’s main app now has nearly 900 million daily mobile users around the world.

But Google still accounts for a huge portion of mobile traffic—it made half the apps on the list of America’s 10 most-used apps of the year, according to Nielsen. In fact, between Facebook, Google, and Apple, just three companies sew up the entire top 10.

AppAverage number of usersFirst released
Facebook126.7 million2008
YouTube97.62011
Facebook Messenger96.42011
Google Search952008
Google Play89.72008
Google Maps87.72012
Gmail75.12011
Instagram55.42010
Apple Music54.52015
Apple Maps46.42007

The only real surprises in the list are Apple Maps and Music. The rankings for the company’s somewhat maligned streaming music app and its formerly maligned maps service suggest there’s at least some inertia on the part of Apple customers when it comes to the apps that come pre-installed on all new iPhones, which Apple sold 48 million of just last quarter.

Most of the apps in the top 10 feature some form of search, communication, or streaming. There are no games, no shopping apps, and no real productivity apps—and none of the burgeoning social media apps, like Snapchat or Tumblr, have managed to upend the incumbents. Also, other than Apple Music, most of the top-used apps have been around for years.

Nielsen’s data show the average number of individuals over the age of 13 in the US using these apps at any given time. The ratings and measurement company based its data on surveys of about 30,000 people which it says is “weighted to be demographically representative of mobile subscribers in the US.”

It also found from the surveys that Android commands nearly 53% of the operating system market share in the US, with Apple’s iOS coming in second at roughly 43%. Microsoft is in a distant third, with under 3% of the market, and BlackBerry is continuing its prolonged downfall with just 0.7% of the US market.