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Best of 2011 – App Publisher: Google Inc.

It may seem cliche to name Google, the company that created Android, as the best app publisher in 2011, but if you look at it from a broad perspective, it’s hard not to. If there is one company that has control and influence on Android, it’s Google. Google has been making apps for Android since the beginning, obviously, but in the ways it has this year. Google put a huge g-shaped footprint in the Android Market with their latest apps and app updates, and really set an example to third-party developers on how to get it done straight from the Plex.

First off, Google has updated a TON of apps with complete redesigns this year. This list includes apps like Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Google Books, Google Docs, Google Shopper, Google Reader, Google Music, and more. If you think about just how many things Google pushed this year, there’s really no other contender. A lot of these apps got their own special re-makes throughout the year, and then got the notion again with the release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, in which Google gave all of their core apps a makeover. The list above doesn’t even mention the overhaul the calendar app received with ICS, sporting a nifty pinch-to-zoom feature that is sure to gain lots of love. A lot of these apps were originally phone-only apps, and examples such as Google Voice and Google Books getting a makeover to support tablets running Honeycomb. Google has really stepped up their game this year with app updates, and while some , such as the Google Reader update, fall short of expectations, overall Google has done a fantastic job in 2011.

Another big jump that Google has made in the apps department is launching two of their newest products: Google+ for Android, and Google Currents for Android. Both of these apps are Android partners to new services Google has launched in 2011, and both of them really show the capabilities that Android has. Google+ started a little rough by not supporting a lot of key features such as Hangout, but after a few months they pushed updates that brought this and more to phones through the Google+ app. Google+ also comes with Messenger, the mobile messaging app paired with Google+, competing with Facebook for meeting the needs of millions of chatty Android users. Google Currents also launched at the tail-end of the year, giving Android users a new way to read all of your favorite sites. Google Currents is like an RSS reader and a Flipboard competitor rolled into one, for both phones and tablets. This app is very pretty, and really shows the emphasis Google is placing on user experience lately. Sure, the app was a battery hog at first, but they’ve fixed that, proving Google hasn’t just blown it off in the aftermath of product launch after product launch like they have been known to do in the past.

Google has really done a tremendous job giving their faithful users some great apps in 2011. Whether it’s launching a new app or just updating an old favorite, Google has really made Android a better place for all of us. Be sure to check these apps out for yourself here in the Android Market.

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