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Google has announced its 2012 top 10 apps. Not all of the apps were launched in 2012, some got updates boosting their functionality. Exactly what criteria Google used to select these apps is not entirely clear, so a paid placement may be possible. Still, it’s an interesting selection and all but one of these apps are free.

  • Zappos. The best in mobile shopping with a great selection, free shipping and returns as well as an elegant new UI for phones and tablets.
  • Evernote. Stay on top of every element of your life, from anywhere. Take notes, capture photos and record memos with this amazing organizer.
  • Pinterest. Take full advantage of your android device and set pins from anywhere using the built-in sharing system. Share and enjoy!
  • Grimm’s Snow White ($1.99). An interactive pop-up fairy tale book for children.
  • Pocket. A full-featured offline reader that is constantly adding new capabilities like site subscriptions that let you save articles on paid sites.
  • Expedia Hotels & Flights. A beautiful and well-designed app that sets the bar for globally relevant travel tools with a rich and detailed tablet experience.
  • Ancestry. Build, update, and show off your family tree with the Ancestry.com app.
  • Fancy. Fancy lets you share your personal style with style and brings a fresh perspective to the worlds of online shopping and fashion.
  • Mint.com Personal Finance. One of the most robust, feature-rich and intuitively designed tools available to help you master your personal finances.
  • SeriesGuide Show Manager. Enjoy a great second-screen experience for TV that features an attractive, practical and well-planned design aesthetic.
  • Pixlr Express. A relatively new photography app that provides an amazing array of editing and photo-correction tools for both phones and tablets.
  • TED. Enjoy talks and lectures from some of the world’s most fascinating mavericks, gurus and legends.

Apple also releases a list of its best apps for iPhone and iPad in a variety of categories. Last year, Instagram received iPhone app of the year, while Snapseed got the best iPad app. This year Apple chose Action Movie FX as its iPhone App of the Year, while Paper is the iPad App of the Year.

Other Best Apps of 2012 lists include;

Both Apple’s iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play have more than 700,000 apps. Amazon’s Appstore for Android recently announced 50,000 apps for its Kindle Fire devices. Windows Phone has about 100,000 apps and the recently renamed BlackBerry World has 80,000 or so, with RIM making a big push to get developers to build apps for BlackBerry 10.

Apple has more than doubled the amount of iOS app downloads in the last year, with users downloading nearly as many apps from October 2011 to September 2012 (about 17 billion) than had been downloaded from the App Store before October 2011 (about 18 billion). Google Play hit 25 billion downloads in September 2012, averaging nearly 46 million downloads a day. As Android increasingly dominates the smartphone global smartphone industry, look for Google Play to increase download volume.

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