Google Play tops 25 billion download mark

Google's Play Store, the official source for Android software, has served up 25 billion downloads

Google's Play Store, the official source for Android software, has served up 25 billion downloads, the company announced Wednesday, further closing the gap on Apple's App Store.

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The latest official announcement from Google's chief smartphone rival came in June, when Apple announced that it had topped the 30 billion download mark at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

"Twenty-five billion is more than twice the distance, in miles, that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has travelled since its launch 35 years ago. It's the amount of time, in minutes, that have passed since some of our earliest ancestors began to set foot in Europe," said director of digital content Jamie Rosenberg in an official blog post.

Google's own statistics show a meteoric rise in Android app downloads - the Play Store has more than doubled its previous total thus far in 2012.

Based on publicly released numbers, it appears that the Play Store is quickly approaching parity with its more established rival. While Apple had previously been able to boast a substantially more mature software ecosystem, the gap seems to be vanishing, both in terms of total downloads and of apps available - Google said in today's announcement that the Play Store offers 675,000 different apps, just behind Apple's latest public figure of 700,000 for the App Store.

The picture was very different just a year ago - a report from Research2Guidance indicated that, in October 2011, the then-Android Market had roughly 320,000 apps, while Apple claimed more than 500,000 in the App Store at an event held the same month.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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