Google is obviously the greatest and most popular developer on the Play Store, and with Android's reach and usership growing each day, Google continues to go up in popularity. And with each new Android device activated, a new Google app or two (or most of them, really) is downloaded, adding to Google's impressive records. Today (or earlier, as we'll go into a bit later) Google hit its second billion-times-downloaded milestone with Maps.
First, worth noting is that the billion mark was reached on March 28, but rumors and keeping up on the latest big developments sadly had to take precedence over this little award ceremony of sorts. So, sorry for making you folks that wanted to hear day-of about billion downloads apps. The Google Maps app is a standard for all map and navigation apps to model themselves after, both in style and interface, but also functionality. However, with Google's integration of all its services with Google Now, no single company can really match up to the convenience of asking Search directions and having Navigate get you where you want to go.
That said, Maps is by no means the best for everyone, and some people outright dislike (or despise, in some cases) Maps and the way it works, or doesn't, for them. Maps, though, is Google's second billion-times-downloaded app, with the first being Gmail early last month. The interesting thing here (and this is a little far back so don't worry if you don't remember) is that back in 2011, Maps was the first app to hit 50 million downloads.
Also worth clarifying, especially from above, is that each 'download' is counted as one activation by one account. One Google account, Gmail address, or whatever you use to log in signing in to use Maps, regardless of how many times or on how many devices, counts as one download. And that billion is therefore also comprised of non-Android users, like the people that smartly jumped ship on Apple Maps with iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. Which app from Google will be next to earn the badge of fan-approval? Well, it's actually impossible to say, but there are a few apps from the G that are in the half-billion to billion range. Google+, Search, YouTube, Street View for Maps, and Google Play Books are, as of today, June 13, the only apps from Google labeled as within the range of 50 million to 1 billion range of unique activations ('downloads'), so it will be interesting to see which hits it next.
Perhaps Play Books because of the rising popularity and sales of tablets? Google+ because of the new UI, and perhaps maybe even more G+ after Google I/O? Surprised that YouTube isn't already there, honestly, so maybe after a couple more cat videos? After I/O, and maybe some special announcements from Google, Search might hit it? Maybe Android Wear will boost that one? Street View might get it eventually, because there's only so much you can improve, but maybe after Google remaps and rephotographs the planet in-car, on foot, and in-plane? Only time and users will tell, so stay tuned for updates.