Google’s Play Store recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, on the occasion of which the service even rolled out its brand new logo. Originated in 2012, the Google Play Store has today evolved into a much wider platform than a simple app market. However, Google did release a list of the most popular apps of the last 10 years that “defined a generation” in India.
From instant messenger WhatsApp to shopping platforms like Amazon India, here are the top apps of the last decade.
An unsurprising addition to the list is WhatsApp, the instant messaging tool of choice for pretty much everyone with an Android smartphone. WhatsApp itself has evolved a lot in the past 10 years, from its humble beginnings as a messaging tool with no limit to a full-fledged communication platform that today lets you make voice and video calls, run your business and even transfer money via UPI.
ShareChat is another Indian-origin social media tool that millions of Indians used to share messages, greetings, wishes for occasions and festivals, and even some quick Shayari (short, impactful poems).
JioSaavn was simply Saavn, the go-to music-streaming player for many Android users, for years before the service came under Reliance Jio’s wing. Offering unlimited music streaming for those who had access to WiFi and/or mobile data connections, Saavn was pretty much a must-have on phones when you wanted to enjoy music without carrying offline bulk in the pre-4G days.
MX Player started off as a feature-rich media player that offered a reliable, consistent and loaded experience on every phone it was installed on. At a time when neither OEM Android skins nor their bundled apps offered the most polished interface, MX player was there for the Android fanbase, offering features like subtitle support for your offline media which stock video players simply lacked.
Disney+ Hotstar started out as simply Hotstar. The Star-network app’s early streaming days brought a fresh experience for many who were just beginning to dive into the world of streaming entertainment. Hotstar popularised finding and watching what you want, instead of confining yourselves to the boundaries set by the TV schedule. The platform later also offered fan favourite titles like Game of Thrones to stream, leading to a quick rise in its user-base.
Amazon’s Indian division brought the same experience Amazon was known for throughout the world to India. The app was key in India’s digital revolution and also kicked off the popular trend of online sales. Amazon helped make e-commerce a widely known term and was key to people discovering the convenience and perks of online shopping.
India’s own e-commerce player Flipkart, just like Amazon India, was also a significant addition towards customers gradually shifting to online shopping across categories beyond just fashion apparel and books. This included phones, electronics, furniture and much more.
Truecaller quickly became a popular app found on many Android phones for practically just one feature that even today, remains supremely important on any mobile device – Caller ID. While Truecaller offers a much more feature-rich experience today, its beginnings focused solely on letting users know who has been ringing up their phones before they picked it up.
Online payments, one of the pillars of India’s digitalisation, was greatly accelerated during the COVID pandemic thanks to he UPI platform. However, a few apps already had a headstart on the online payments scene. One of these was Paytm, India’s own feature-packed digital wallet service that let users transfer a sum from their bank accounts to a digital “wallet” which could then be used to book tickets, recharge prepaid numbers and pay bills from your house.
PhonePe was another digital payment platform that offered similar services like Paytm, allowing users the benefits of making transactions from home and even being rewarded for it. PhonePe also quickly gathered a large number of users by giving users cashback offers on fuel stations that they could then redeem for more fuel or other transactions like bills and recharges.