As Gmail passes 1 billion downloads, we take a look at what that actually means

Gmail has surpassed 1 billion downloads on Google Play, and Vincenzo on Twitter asks a fair question: Does that count app updates?

That’s an easy answer, actually, but we’ll go one further and explain exactly what you’re looking at when you see an app’s download numbers in the Google Play listing. There are downloads, and then there are downloads. There are installations. There are uninstalls. There are folks who use the same app on more than one device. Gmail, for instance, is on every device that has official access to Google Play. Same for Google Maps. And other apps.

So what counts as a download? And what do all the numbers mean when you’re trying to judge whether you want to install an app?

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