Google’s Play Store recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, during which the service even rolled out its brand new logo. Created in 2012, the Google Play Store has now evolved to become a much larger platform than just an application market. However, Google has released a list of the most popular apps of the past 10 years that have “defining a generation” in India.
From WhatsApp instant messaging to shopping platforms like Amazon India, here are the best apps of the last decade.
An unsurprising addition to the list is WhatsApp, the instant messaging tool of choice for just about everyone with an Android smartphone. WhatsApp itself has come a long way over the past 10 years, from its humble beginnings as a limitless messaging tool to a full-fledged communications platform that now lets you make voice calls and video, manage your business, and even transfer money through 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 quick messages. Shayari (short and powerful 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 with access to WiFi and/or mobile data connections, Saavn was pretty much a staple on phones when you wanted to enjoy music without mass-carrying offline in the pre-4G days. .
MX Player started out as a feature-rich media player that delivered 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 video players simply lacked.
Disney+ Hotstar started as simply Hotstar. The early days of Star-network app streaming brought a new experience to many who were just beginning to dive into the world of streaming entertainment. Hotstar has popularized finding and watching what you want, instead of limiting yourself to the limits set by the TV schedule. The platform also later offered fan-favorite titles like Game of Thrones to stream, which led to a rapid increase in its user base.
Amazon’s Indian division brought the same experience that Amazon was known for around the world to India. The app played a key role in India’s digital revolution and also started the popular trend of online sales. Amazon helped make e-commerce a widely known term and was key for people to discover the convenience and benefits of shopping online.
India’s own e-commerce player Flipkart, like Amazon India, has also been a big addition for customers gradually shifting to online shopping in categories beyond fashion clothes and books. This included phones, electronics, furniture and much more.
Truecaller quickly became a popular app found on many Android phones for virtually one feature that even today remains hugely important on any mobile device – Caller ID. Although Truecaller today offers a much more feature-rich experience, its early days focused solely on letting users know who called their phone before picking it up.
Online payments, one of the pillars of India’s digitization, have been greatly accelerated during the COVID pandemic thanks to the UPI platform. However, a few apps already had a head start on the online payment scene. One was Paytm, India’s feature-rich digital wallet service that allowed users to transfer money from their bank accounts to a digital “wallet” that could then be used to book tickets, top up prepaid numbers and pay bills from home.
PhonePe was another digital payment platform that offered similar services like Paytm, allowing users to transact from home and even get rewarded for it. PhonePe also quickly garnered a large following by offering users cashback offers at gas stations which they could then redeem for more fuel or other transactions such as bills and refills.