Google has already declared defeat in their attempt to unseat Twitter - seriously, will anyone pour one out for Google Buzz when remember those we lost in 2011? - in order to focus on their hoped-for Facebook killer, Google+. Unfortunately, data just released by the Nielsen research company suggests that not only is Google not unfriending Facebook, the privacy-loving social network is beating Google where it lives: on its own operating system. Aside from the Android Market, where Android owners go to find things to suck up their phones' memory, the single most popular Android app is Facebook.
That unsettling (for Google) data comes courtesy of a month-long Nielsen study analyzing the most-used Android apps. Granted, this may be a temporary triumph. A similar study conducted last summer put Facebook third behind Google Maps and Gmail. However, whether or not it represents a shift or a small blip, the data suggests Facebook's popularity is broad. 80 percent of Android users between 18 and 24 and also 25-34 use Facebook, and among users 35-44, the total is a slightly smaller but still dominating 77 percent.
The top 5 apps are nearly identical, indicating that for practical matters, desired smartphone utility doesn't vary much by age. But further down the list, the data is a fascinating look at the differences in consumer behavior as they transition from teenagers, through young adulthood and ultimately into early middle age. For example, the popular music service Pandora Radio comes in just behind Youtube at 7th place for users 18-24, and just behind Angry Birds in 8th place for users 25-34. For users 35-44, Pandora clocks in at a tepid 13 percent, behind Amazon Appstore, Quickoffice, Advanced Task Killer and, of all things, the Yahoo email app. Interestingly, YouTube is in 6th place for both groups, suggesting that everyone loves videos of cats doing adorable things.
The top 5 apps for the three age groups studied are:
18-24: Android Market (89%); Facebook (80%); Google Search (77%); Gmail (70%); Google Maps(70%).
25-34: Android Market (89%); Facebook (80%); Gmail (80%); Google Maps (79%) Google Search (78%).
35-44: Android (95%); Facebook (77%); Gmail (77%); Google Search (75%); Google maps (73%).
Users older than 44 were not studied. The entire published results can be read on the Nielsen blog.