Facebook, Google top out most popular apps in 2016

Of the Top 10 apps in the US, the two tech titans hold onto eight spots, Nielsen reports.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
2 min read

Facebook's app is America's favorite app.


Facebook might not be as cool as Snapchat, but it still has the most popular app in the US, according to a Nielsen report for 2016 published Wednesday.

In a year where Pokemon Go smashed App Store records, social media still remains the dominant force on people's phones. Facebook remains comfortable as America's most popular app with more than 146 million monthly users. The company has been adding features to its app over the last year, like games, its own marketplace and its many, many attempts to be Snapchat.

The social network giant took first and second place in Nielsen's ranking, with 129 million unique users for Facebook Messenger. Instagram, which Facebook bought for $1 billion in 2012, was 2016's eighth most popular app, with 74 million average monthly users. The photo-sharing app's user number grew by more than one-third from 2015.

Enlarge Image

Facebook boasts an average 1.8 billion monthly active users internationally, as the largest social network in the world. But while Facebook was able to clinch the top spot, its apps were not spread as widely as Google's influence.

The search engine titan claimed five spots on the Top 10 list, with a combined 508 million users across its popular apps.

YouTube, the mega-popular streaming site it owns, was Google's largest contribution, with 113 million people using the app. Google Maps followed with 105 million users. Google Search, the Play Store and Gmail had 103 million, 99 million and 88 million users, respectively.

Google's Android mobile operating system also edged out its rival Apple in 2016, with 53 percent of US smartphone owners running on Android, compared to 45 percent of owners using iOS. Only 1 percent of smartphone owners are using BlackBerry.

While Facebook and Google have managed to stay on top for 2016, Amazon's app saw the most growth this year, with a 43 percent increase since 2015. The web retailer giant now boasts 65 million users on its app.

If you're trying to find the hidden gems that aren't the most popular apps, check out our recommendations for the best apps for iOS and Android. (My apologies to the one percent of BlackBerry users out there.)