Last week, we reported that Google was “not happy” with how well its app market is performing in relation to Apple’s App Store. Today, we’re beginning to see how far the search giant will go to make Android a competitive platform. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google plans to hire dozens of app developers to work on unique apps for the Android Market.
To fast track development, Google is looking to hire candidates that already have apps in development or solid plans for new products. Many Googlers are being shifted to the new initiative–one of incoming CEO Larry Page’s first–as well. Google is promising new developers the freedom and feel of working in a start-up company, but with the comfort of having experienced app developers around for advice.
Currently, the Market has more than 100,000 apps, but that number pales in comparison to Apple’s 350,000 apps. In addition to making the Android Market more intuitive to use, having a wider slate of popular exclusive apps could drive users to Android and to the Market. There is money to be made, as well. Global app revenue is expected to triple this year to $15.1 billion.
Already making apps
Google is already a player in the apps space. The company has more than 20 Android apps available on the market today. Most, however, correspond to Web products Google already has available. These include Google Goggles, Shopper, Orkut, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Moderator, My Map Editor, Google Voice, Google Earth, Google Books, Google Translate, and Google Buzz. Unique products include Google Navigation, Google Sky Map, and Google Listen.
Unfortunately, though Google has released many apps, many haven’t been properly supported. Google Listen, an audio podcast app, is a good example. The app still has a number of bugs and lacks the polish seen in other apps, but provides a valuable service. If cleaned up, it could serve as a great video podcast player as well, but Google stopped investing resources in it. As far as we know, there isn’t even an organized directory where content providers can submit new podcasts. Hopefully with the new resources, Google will double down on overdue improvements to its current apps as well.