Next month will be the two-year anniversary of Gmail becoming the most widely used email service on the planet. While it remains the uncontested champion, the Gmail app for Android struck its own accomplishment last week as it became the first conventional app in the Play Store to reach 1 billion downloads. Technically, the Google Play services package crossed the same mark back in January, but it is automatically installed on any device equipped with the Play Store and running Android 2.2 or higher. It's probably fair to pass this honor to the more legitimate runner up.
AppBrain shows the event occurring on May 6th.
The download counter is a tally of unique accounts rather than a total number of devices or individual downloads. Of course, this doesn't mean the app actually has 1 billion regular users - some of those downloads come from abandoned and duplicate accounts. On the other hand, Google reported over 425 million active monthly users in 2012, and that number has almost certainly increased with the growing popularity of Android.
Oh yeah, and Google finally fixed the little bug that displayed 705,032,704 in place of 5 billion on the download range. We know everybody was on the edge of their seats over that one.
Thanks, Steven Bell.