When Gmail hit 1 billion downloads early last month, it was a pretty safe bet some of the other Google apps would follow closely behind. The next entrant to the exclusive club came only a few weeks later, and this time it’s Maps taking the spotlight. Even if it occasionally sends us through winding mountain roads and quiet neighborhoods during cross-country trips, we should give a round of applause for the app that always got us where we needed to go! If we look back in time a little bit, it turns out that Google Maps used to be in the lead. It was the very first app to hit 50 million downloads back in 2011. To anybody that was around for the early days of Android, this probably comes as no surprise. Alongside speech recognition, Maps and turn-by-turn navigation were among the most powerful drivers in the early success of Android. In almost every comparison with the iPhone, once people finished talking about 3rd-party keyboards and widgets, the real selling point almost always boiled down to having the best navigation experience.
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