Google Maps is still king of the travel apps and mobile sites, says a study by research firm Nielsen.
Google Maps was both the top travel app and mobile website during June 2012, with a projected 77.8 million US smartphone owners using the Google Maps app at least once in the month. About 17 million accessed Google Maps via the mobile Web.
GasBuddy, a free app in which users monitor gas station prices, ranked as the number-two Travel app with nearly 9 million users.
Urbanspoon, the restaurant suggestion app, was the next winner for apps built by companies that aren’t mobile network providers.
If one factors out Google Maps and focuses instead on travel services, such as information about flights and reviews, the picture is different.
Smartphone users seem to be evenly split in preferring to access travel information on apps over mobile sites, with 54% of time spent through an app versus 46% via mobile Web on average.
In that case, TripAdvisor is the winner, with 4,150,000 million users of its TripAdvisor mobile site at least once in June.
Oddly, Nielsen didn’t count Yelp or Foursquare as travel apps.
Cruisegoers preferred the mobile web to apps, despite countless cruise apps in the iTunes store.
Done in June, Nielsen’s survey studied more than 5,000 US smartphone owners with metered mobile app and Web usage on Android OS and iOS devices.
Google Maps’ dominance may be undercut by Apple’s decision to ditch it in its next mobile operating system, iOS6, in favor of Waze.
Social travel apps fared poorly, failing to make the top ten of either Web-based or app-based lists.