Facebook, and apps from Google like Gmail and the Android Market are the most popular smartphone apps among Android owners 18 years and older in the U.S. according to Nielsen’s latest research on smartphone usage.

Facebook’s app is the most active among Android owners 18-24 and 25-34, who both hover at around an 80 per cent active reach. Additionally, more than three quarters of users 35-44 used the app recently as well.

Google’s YouTube app gets heavy usage from Android smartphone owners 18 -24: 64 per cent have used it in the past 30 days, compared to 56 per cent and 51 per cent of 25-34 and 35-44 year olds. A preference for media apps with a social dimension (e.g. Words with Friends) among the 18-24 set is also reinforced by their sizable usage of music and video apps (e.g. Pandora) compared to older demographics.

Angry Birds, appeals more to those 35-44 when compared to other age groups: 35 per cent of them have used the app in the last 30 days, while only 22 per cent of those 18-24 and 29 per cent of 25-34 year-olds launched the game.

Apart from gaming, the 35-44 segment demonstrates a greater inclination to shop using the Amazon AppStore: 24 per cent of them used the app in the last 30 days, while only 14 per cent of those 18-24 did the same. Groupon appeals more to those 25-34, not even making the top 20 ranking for those 18-24. A similar trend was found on Google+: active reach was higher for those 25 and older when compared to the 18-24 demographic.

To rank mobile apps by active reach, that is, by the percentage of Android owners who used the app within the past 30 days, Nielsen analyzed usage data from its proprietary device meters on the smartphones of the thousands of consumer panelists who agreed to be part of Nielsen’s ongoing Smartphone Analytics research.