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Android / Google Play: Top Free Apps

Messaging rules the app stores these days... as does Facebook. Here is a screenshot of the Google Play Store's Top Free Apps: #1. Facebook Messenger #2. Facebook #4. Instagram (Facebook) #5. Snapchat ... #9. Skype #10. Kik #13. Twitter #16. WhatsApp

Notable others: music has #3 and #11 with Pandora and Spotify, respectively. King has games at #8 and #12 with Candy Crush and Bubble Witch 2. And Netflix is #7.

Android Top Free Apps

Taco Bell's Instagram Doritos Locos Tacos Commercial

I love Taco Bell's new television commercial for the Doritos Locos Taco. It features a series of user-uploaded Instagram photos of Doritos Locos Tacos: "no matter how hard you try, pictures just don't do it justice." It's fun, social, and conveys how popular and unique the product has been. The Doritos Locos campaign has been a smash success - and social promotion has been a key part. Creating a television campaign atop that activity (on Instagram no-less) is terrific. [youtube value=""]

Side note: the new taco has indeed been a smash success. Roughly 30% of Taco Bell orders include the Dorito's Taco and same store sales up 6% after launch. Taco Bell even responded to my tweet: "The people have spoken. And the people love #DoritosLocosTacos." (a very, very proud moment for me)

Here is the Facebooks Phone.

Much has been made of the rumored Facebook Phone.... specifically around the hardware component (see the Techmeme stream here). Regardless of whether or not a Facebook branded device will soon exist, the Facebook Phone already exists as an OS of sorts.... comprised of core applications. Here is my iPhone's homescreen. There is a folder dedicated to Facebook with the core Facebook Application, Facebook Messages, Facebook Camera, and Facebook Pages. It is not hard to imagine standalone apps for contacts, calendar, places, etc. Said differently, if you think about the phone's core applications, Facebook can replicate many of them:- Contacts :: FB Graph - Calendar :: FB Events - SMS :: FB Messages - Email :: FB Messages or blown out email product - Maps :: FB Places - Camera :: FB Camera - Media :: Open Graph / Facebook App Platform?

Most Important Feature of Facebook for iPad, iPhone: "Apps"

The most important part about Facebook's new iOS apps that they unveiled yesterday? For starters, the app actually works and I had given up using Facebook for iPhone (which failed 90+% of the time. But other than the obvious... the below screenshot is the most impactful aspect of the new mobile suite. It gives users the ability to access and use applications directly from within Facebook Mobile. That is convenient for users and represents future opportunities for deeper developer & Facebook integrations (think 'canvas apps' within the Facebook apps). And to developers / publishers, this is remarkably valuable real estate that drives engagement and mobile usage / downloading: for instance, when I clicked on Instagram, it took me directly to iTunes to download the application (I have it on iPhone but not iPad).

Also interesting: Facebook clusters their own products within "Apps" - and it is done alphabetically (I would think they would mark their products atop the list): Events, Messages, Photos, etc.

Mashable Profiles Instagram, Touches on Dogpatch Community

As part of their Scaling Startups series, Mashable profiled Dogpatch-alum Instagram: "Scaling Instagram: How the Photo Sharing Startup Avoided Catastrophe in Its First Days". It is an interesting read considering Instagram's instant, tremendous success... and it is also a testament to Kevin and Mike, who are terrific. The article also touches upon the core of Dogpatch Labs: a community of entrepreneurs of different backgrounds and skills. As the Instagram team quickly (ie six hours after launch), co-founder Mike Krieger leverage the Dogpatch community's input / experience:

Instagram, already fast-approaching 40,000 users, would need something much sooner to meet the weekend demand. “We needed to be on a platform where we could adjust in minutes, not days,” says Krieger.

So, Krieger, a former UX designer at Meebo with admittedly no experience scaling a startup, walked around the Dogpatch Labs coworking space in San Francisco — the locale of Instagram’s first office — and queried other startup founders about what to do. Officemates suggested that Instagram move its service to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Instagram officially went from a local server-run operation to an EC2 hosted shop in the wee hours of Saturday morning October 9, 2010. Doing so was much like open heart surgery, according to Krieger.

Also fun: Mashable highlighted the Instagram picture of the Red Bull consumed during their all-nighter at Dogpatch

Mashable's SXSW Potential Breakout Apps: 3/13 are Dogpatch Labs Companies

As South by Southwest approaches, start-ups are polishing their applications and planning their launch parties. And today Mashable listed the "13 Potential Breakout Apps to Watch at SXSW 2011". Of the thirteen companies to watch, three are Dogpatchers: Also - a reminder that we will have Dogpatch Labs SXSW Sunday and Monday. If interested, click here to learn more or email me directly for more information. Several of us will be present!

- Yobongo (Dogpatch SF)

- Fast Society (Dogpatch NYC)

Fast Society Version 2 Launch from Fast Society on Vimeo.

- Instagram (Dogpatch SF)

What mobile apps have been successful without a web component?

Continuing to post select Quora answers on my blogyou can view them here.

A few obvious themes and a couple apps associated with them:

- Gaming. Games make up the majority of the most successful paid applications. Examples: Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, Electronic Arts, etc. - Photos. There are numerous successful apps around photos - either as a network (Path (company), Instagram, etc) or around functionality (Hipstamatic, etc). They are improving a core utility around the device itself. Neither Path nor Instagram launched with web components. And Hipstamatic and others are entirely on the phone.

- Local & Device-Related Companies. Applications where location and/or the device are required components. Examples like FlightTrack, Uber (formerly UberCab), Shazam, etc.

- Messaging & Communication. Kik, Beluga, GroupMe, Tango, etc

3 Dogpatch Companies in RWW's Top 10 Startups of 2010

Today tech blog ReadWriteWeb wrote about the Top 10 Startups of 2010. Three Dogpatch Labs San Francisco companies made that list: Instagram, Learnboost and Rapportive. I have copied a small excerpt about each company but encourage you to read the entire post:

Instagram: Photo Sharing Goes Viral i can't look at my Twitter or Facebook stream without seeing a flurry of shared links from Instagram. And I even confessed in October, the app has made me an iPhone photo addict. The free app allows users to snap photos, apply one of 11 filters, and then quickly and easily publish them to a variety of social networks, as well as follow, comment, and like within the app itself....

Rapportive: The Gmail Plug-in I Am Thankful for Every Day Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote this headline back in March: "Stop What You Are Doing & Install This Plug-in: Rapportive. And honestly, I'd issue the same command today. Rapportive replaces the ads in your Gmail side bar - which is cool enough right there - but then, it fills that space with a wealth of info - a picture of the person who sent you an email, their job title from LinkedIn, recent Twitter messages they've sent and more...

LearnBoost: Bringing the Teacher Gradebook to the Web with Open Source Like Hipmunk, LearnBoost is tackling a space that may not be particularly sexy - Web-based classroom administration tools. But tracking grades and attendance is an important, if not cumbersome, responsibility of teachers, many of whom still use the paper-and-pencil gradebook for record-keeping...