The Best Android Apps Of 2012, According To Google

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Photo: Tama Leaver

Just in time for everyone who got a new Android tablet or smartphone, Google has released the top picks for apps in its Google Play Store.The search giant made huge strides with its entertainment store in 2012. The app section of Google’s media marketplace has surged to include more than 750,000 apps, finally closing the gap with Apple’s App Store.

Tavares¬†Ford, Google’s¬†merchandising manager for the Play Store, put together the list.

Ford writes: 

These are some of the best apps available in Google Play. Some launched in 2012 while others issued updates that achieved a great combination of utility, beauty, and accessibility. Almost all of them are available globally and offer a great user experience on both tablets and phones. From excellent tools to objects of beauty, each of these applications represents the best of Google Play.

If this list is the best Google has to offer, Ford and his colleagues will have to up their game in 2013.

Zappos is Google's pick for best in mobile shopping.

Google highlighted the Zappos mobile app for Android for its great shoes-and-apparel selection. Zappos is also loved because of its free shipping, free returns, and elegant user interface for both phones and tablets.

Price: Free

Evernote is one of our favourite apps, ever.

Evernote is our second brain. We literally use the app for all our digital note taking. From shopping lists to interview notes, Evernote is one of the best mobile apps around.

In 2012, the popular app went through a dramatic overhaul on Android, which made it easier to use and work better with the desktop and tablet versions.

No complains about this pick, except to note that Evernote is available on a large number of mobile platforms already.

Price: Free

Pinterest's Android app came out in 2012.

The social sharing service's app let users take full advantage of their Android device by setting pins from anywhere, using the operating system's built-in sharing options. Apple is more restrictive in sharing options.

As you'd expect for the design-centric startup, the app for Android is designed really well.

Price: Free

Grimm's Snow White, Android's best interactive storybook

This one's for the kids. The interactive fairy tale is simple and well-executed. Google says Snow White serves as a perfect introduction to the world of Grimm's fairy tales

Price: $1.99

Pocket is the best offline reader for Android

Pocket is full of features that help users to read interesting articles at a later time.

Google selected this app as one of the best because its developers are constantly adding new capabilities like site subscriptions that let you save articles even on paid sites.

Price: Free

Google recommends the Expedia app for travel searching on Android

The Expedia app is a beautiful app that provides a very detailed and useful tablet travel-searching experience.

Users love it because it provides every detail you might ask for about travel experiences.

Price: Free

Ancestry.com helps you trace your roots directly from your Android device

Google says Ancestry's Android app is a unique and full-featured genealogy app that delivers a stunning design overhaul and new functionality.

The app was updated this year, letting users interact with their Ancestry.com family trees or build a new family tree from scratch.

But let's be honest: My grandmother is the only person I know who uses Ancestry.com, and we can't see her getting an Android tablet.

Price: Free

The Fancy challenged us to think outside of the box when it comes to e-commerce apps

The Fancy is changing how we discover and purchase things that we like. Think of The Fancy as a social version of Amazon or a shopper-friendly version of Pinterest.

The problem for The Fancy is that Android users--at least on other e-commerce sites people have studied--are far less likely to buy stuff than Apple users.

Price: Free

Mint is revamping the way we view personal finance

Google selected Mint because its app is robust and feature-rich for helping users to stay on top of their finances. But Intuit bought Mint three years ago, so this pick doesn't feel super fresh.

Price: Free

Series Guide Show Manager supercharges your TV watching experience

Manage the process of watching your favourite TV shows with the Series Guide app, which helps TV users to see what's coming up and keep track of which shows to watch next. (U.S. only.)

Price: Free

Pixlr Express, a robust mobile image editor

Pixlr Express gives users more than 600 effects, overlays, and borders to personalise any image. Some key tweaks include the ability to quickly crop, resize, and fix any picture--including removing red-eye, and whitening teeth.

Price: Free

TED, the best way to keep inspired while on the go.

TED's Android app lets users view talks from some of the world's most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus, and music legends.

There are more than 1,200 TEDTalk videos available with audio and more are added each week.

Price: Free

Now check out some ways to get more out of Android ...

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