Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) says it's "not happy" about the state of the Android app market. Admitting you have a problem is a great start, guys. Only 11 steps left to go!

Or perhaps 11-and-a-half. Android platform manager Eric Chu's main gripe about Market is its lack of paid app sales. If helping developers monetize their products is the best Chu can do, I think he's missing at least half the picture.

It's often faster and easier to find the Android app you're looking for by doing regular old Google searches than by looking around the Android Market. Third-party app databases have much more refined search tools than Google's own, which is really a shame, when you consider that search tools made Google a success in the first place. The company certainly could and should do better.

The lack of a great app store hasn't stopped Android phones from selling like hotcakes. Various flavors of Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Droids and Samsung Galaxy S smartphones have helped Android catch up to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhones and the Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) BlackBerry platform in short order. But how many would-be smartphone buyers are going elsewhere, or just sticking with a boring old feature phone, until Android gets its app act together?

The Gingerbread version of Android should have revamped the store in broad strokes, but didn't. Somehow, I get the feeling that Honeycomb won't do it, either, though that only matters for tablet buyers. Sensing a opportunity to steal Google's thunder, both Verizon and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) have created or are developing their own Android app stores. Until one of them -- or, ideally, Google itself -- publishes a truly usable market for Android apps, with monetization and app-finding bells and whistles, Apple will always be able to flaunt its own store as a competitive advantage.

So what's step two in your recovery plan, Google? I hope it's more like a spiritual awakening than another denial.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool has written puts on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.