5 Popular Apps in America

Today’s post is about the most popular apps in America. An, “app,” which is short for the term  “application software,” is a computer program designed to function within mobile devices such as smartphones (iPhone) and tablets (iPad). Apps are purchased or downloaded from app stores like the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Windows Phone Store, and can do anything from tell you the weather, to share a funny video on photo on your favorite social network. Last year over 100 billion apps were downloaded world wide.

Here is a list of the most popular apps in America:

1. Facebook

The Facebook app has over 125 million users per month, so when you consider that the United States only has a population of 320 million, it’s pretty impressive. The best thing about the this app is that it allows you to do all of the things you would normally do on the Facebook website, but with the convenience and ease of your phone. I do everything from post pictures and status updates, to add new advertisements for a business Facebook page that I manage. You can also add money to your Facebook account, pay friends, and purchase available products through a safe a secure network.

Facebook also has an app called Facebook Messenger which pulls in just under 100 million users per month. I have found Facebook Messenger most helpful when I need to talk to someone who I am friends with, but I don’t have the person’s cell phone number to text. Instead of asking around and trying to find the number, I just get onto Messenger and send the person a message. What’s also nice about this app is that it allows you to see when someone is online or offline or if they have received and read your message. Some people don’t like this feature, but I think it is pretty useful! If you need to send a photo or video, or even pay a friend, messenger allows you to do this too. Overall, it’s a great app.

2. YouTube

YouTube is an awesome website that has millions of videos posted by anyone and everyone. Music artists post their music videos here, major movie studios upload previews for their upcoming feature films, and average non-professional users post videos of just about anything. YouTube has also recently started to add major films to their website with the opportunity to rent the movie for a few days for a small charge. YouTube is very similar to YouKu in its function and in how users interact with it.

The YouTube app is great for watching and sharing videos with friends. The app can also be linked with other apps like Facebook so that if you want to post a video from your YouTube account to your Facebook account, you simply need tap on the ‘share’ button, and then choose where you’d like to share the video. The only negative thing I’ve experienced with this app is, it can be limiting when uploading content, in terms of file size. Other than that, the app is great.

3. Google Search

If you have a question, Google has the answer. The Google app, or “Google Search” works exactly like the Google website. To search the most popular restaurant in the area, how many miles the moon is from Earth, or what the most popular apps of 2015 are, you simply type your question into the google search bar. It’s amazing. The benefit of having the Google app is that you don’t have to take the time to type google.com in your cell phone’s web browser. All you need to do is click the Google app, and you’re already there. Once you’ve decided what you want to search, you click enter, and millions or results instantly appear on your phone. Google organizes these results by popularity–these are links to websites where you can get what you’re looking for. I use my Google app multiple times everyday.

Google Maps

Google maps is an app that provides, walking, biking, or driving directions to anywhere you’d like to go. The app uses the location of your smartphone, and then, depending on if you’re walking, biking, or driving, instantly gives you the fastest directions to where you want to be. The app also offers the opportunity to see different routes, and travel time estimates. This is another app I use very very frequently and without it I would be endlessly lost—along with the rest of the world.

4. Pandora Radio

Let’s continue our 5 part series about popular apps in America.

Pandora Radio is a really cool app that allows you to listen to any kind of music imaginable—for free.

This is why it matters in American culture:

Americans love to have choices and to be viewed as unique. What makes Pandora the most popular music app in the country, and worth downloading, is that it offers both of these opportunities. Pandora allows you to search any genre of music you can think of: Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, Classical, Electronic, etc. In addition to music genre, you can also select playlists for any daily activity like exercising, studying, or hanging out with friends. After you select a genre or playlist to listen to, an endless stream of songs sounds through your headphones for free. It’s fantastic.

What makes Pandora actually worth the download, though, is its potential for customization. For example, If I hate a certain type of Hip Hop or Rap song that plays in my exercise playlist, I can just tap the thumb-down icon, and this type of song will never play on the playlist again. However, If I really love a certain type of Hip Hop or Rap song that comes onto the same playlist, I can tap on the thumb up icon and more songs that have the same type of beat or style will be played.

Why does this fit into American culture?

Well, if you were to open my Pandora app, you would begin to know a little bit more about me. You’d see playlists that are focused toward exercise. You would see a playlist for studying, for sleeping, for relaxing. With each playlist, and with the type of music within the playlist, you could begin to understand the musical choices I’ve made that are unique to my life—how American, ha!

5. Instagram

Instagram is a rapidly growing app that allows users to post pictures on their account, then share these pictures with friends or with others who have common interests. Instagram (sometimes called, “The Gram”) uses something called a Hashtag (#) to link pictures with similar content. For example, if I post a picture of me exercising in the gym, at the end my comment under the picture, I would post something like: #gym #workout #photo #selfie

These hashtags connect to other people who have used the same hashtags. This way, people who have the same interests can communicate with one another in a way that wouldn’t have previously been possible.

Instagram and its Growing Popularity:

When Facebook was developed back in 2004 it dominated social media. But, in recent years, more and more people have been moving away from Facebook and moving toward Instagram. Facebook became flooded with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and really terrible posts, which drove people away and toward something a little cleaner—that would be Instagram.

Instagram is also very immediate, which fits American culture. When using the app, you can scroll through picture after picture without having to slow down or read. If you like something, simply double tap the picture to “like” it, and keep scrolling for endless photos. It’s brilliant.

Instagram and Business:

It is becoming increasingly popular for businesses to use Instagram for advertising. Because the app is so clean, efficient, and growing in popularity, businesses pay to have an advertisement placed among personal feeds, or home screens. This is barely noticeable to the user, but still usable enough for the business to gain some benefit.

Often times, businesses will sponsor individuals to promote their company by giving them apparel or free products to take pictures with during their normal everyday life. Again, this is a very discrete way to advertise but still benefits the company.

Overview:

Overall, Instagram fits American culture in the way that it allows users to both view content and share content with little to no time at all. Much like WeChat, sharing pictures or video is extremely simple and not at all time consuming. I believe social media apps like Instagram and Twitter will very soon take the place of giants like Facebook—hopefully anyway.

Key Vocabulary

– Unique –

[To be unlike anything else; totally different.]

– Genre –

[A category of music, literature, or film that is  similar in style, form, or subject.]

– Playlist –

[A list of recorded songs.]

– Worth (in this context) –

[to be sufficient or good.]

– Customization –

[to be specific to an individual preference.]

– Hashtag –

[A symbol attached to a word that links users over similar interests. Example: #English]

– Immediate –

[Instant or done at once.]

– Brilliant –

[In this context, brilliant is being used to say something is very smart or intelligent, but also very cool and helpful.]

– Sponsor –

[When a company sends free items or product to a person not employed by the company as a way to receive free advertisement.]

– Apparel –

[Clothing items.]

– Discrete –

[Hidden or not obvious.]

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