Best Apps of 2017 Google Play Awards

The Google I/O 2017 conference took place May 17–19. At this conference, a lot of updates and innovations were announced in a variety of technology areas. In addition to the announcement of the next version of Android, Google also mentioned the winners of the 2017 Google Play Awards.

What are the Google Play Awards and how does Google choose the winners?

The Google Play Awards were established last year to honor top Android apps and encourage developers to create innovative products. Before 2016, Google marked cool apps in a variety of “best-of” lists without categories. In 2016, these nominations turned into the Google Play Awards.

The Google Play Awards are similar to Apple’s awards, but the nominating process is different. Apple divides nominees into apps for smartphone, tablet, and watch, and then categorizes them further by type. Google categorizes apps without dividing them by platform.

In each category, two to five nominees are announced about a month before Google I/O. Last year, there were 10 categories for nominations. In 2017, there were 12 categories with 57 nominees.

Last year, Google placed an emphasis on the use of its own services by developers of third-party apps, presenting Best Use of Material Design and Best Use of Google Play Game Services categories. This year, the company abandoned these in favor of categories aimed at specific technologies. We saw nominations for Best VR App, Best AR App, and Best TV Experience. Also, instead of one nomination for games, this year there were two of – Best Game and Best Multiplayer Game.

Winners in each category are selected by a panel of experts. To be considered, an application must have been released or received a major update in the last 12 months. After being nominated, an expert group from Google reviews if each app meets a number of criteria including innovation, quality, high star rating, technical performance, and other requirements specific for each category.

All the nominees and winners are featured in a special collection on Google Play.

2017 Google Play Awards Winners

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[Image source: 9To5Google]

Standout Indie

In this category are games by indie developers that are distinguished by artistic design, game mechanics, and overall gaming processes. Here are the nominees in this category:

  • Reigns

  • Kingdom: New Lands

  • Mars: Mars

  • Causality

  • Mushroom 11

And the winner is…

Mushroom 11, a puzzle platformer game by Untame. In Mushroom 11, players are in a post-apocalyptic world where they need to be saved and help other forms of life survive in the new conditions of the world’s ruins. The symbiosis of intuitive controls, engaging challenges, beautiful visualizations, and high-quality electronic music worked, and the game won the award.

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[Image source: Google Play]

Standout Startup

This category features apps by new developers. The main criterion for selecting apps for the Standout Startup сategory was a steadily increasing number of organic app installs. Also, an app should offer its users a “unique experience.” The following apps were nominated:

  • Hooked – Chat Stories

  • Discord – Chat for Gamers

  • Cast Box – Free Podcast & Audio

  • Simple Habit Meditation

And the winner is…

Hooked – Chat Stories by Telepathic. In this application, a user can access stories as text messages. The basic idea is that our brains are overloaded with tons of information in different formats. Messaging has become the most familiar and convenient format of reading. The creators of Hooked decided to encourage people to read stories that are written in the form of text messages. Google praised Hooked for their innovative approach to storytelling.

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[Image source: Facts Chronicle]

Best Android Wear Experience

The main criteria for this category were user delight, functionality, and great design. Also, apps had to support the new Android Wear 2.0. Here’s the list of nominees:

  • Lifesum: Healthy Lifestyle app

  • Runtastic Running & Fitness

  • Foursquare City Guide

  • Bring! Shopping list

  • Seven – 7 Minute Workout

And the winner is…

Runtastic Running & Fitness by Runtastic. This app was created to be your fitness assistant. The Google team noted Runtastic’s high-quality activity tracking, built-in music player, voice coaching, running leaderboard, and integration with Google Fit.

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[Image source: Droidsans]

Best TV Experience

The Best TV Experience category includes the most useful apps and games created for the large screen format. At the same time, Google paid attention that apps are easy to control. The highly rated apps nominated in the category of Best TV Experience are:

  • Netflix

  • Red Bull TV

  • Haystack TV: Daily News

And the winner is…

Red Bull TV by Red Bull. With Red Bull TV, users have access to streams of various sports events, music festivals, films, and documentaries. Google emphasized that the creators of this app stuck very close to Android’s style guidelines and effectively used the built-in search capabilities of Android TV.

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[Image source: appraw]

Best VR Experience

In this category, Google presented apps that provide highly engaging and immersive VR experiences. Also, these apps should show optimal use of Daydream UI. Daydream is Google’s VR platform based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Here are the nominees for Best VR Experience:

  • Virtual Virtual Reality

  • The Arcslinger

  • Mecorama VR

  • Gunjack 2: End of Shift

  • The Turning Forest

And the winner is…

Virtual Virtual Reality by Tender Claws. In this game, users can play more than 50 different VR levels, which is more than two hours of VR experience. The game allows users to jump between worlds and explore them by completing challenging missions.

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[Image source: Google Play]

Best AR Experience

To become the number one app in this category, an app should show the best use of “creative and imaginative technology of AR.” According to Google, the best performing apps are the following:

  • Dinosaurs Among Us

  • Holo

  • WOORLD

  • Crayola Color Blaster

And the winner is…

WOORLD by Funomena. WOORLD is an AR app for Tango devices that lets you place different playful characters or toys into your everyday spaces. Google experts say that WOORLD shows the best use of Tango technology – Google’s AR platform. Tango allows devices to detect their position using computer vision without using external signals like GPS.

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[Image source: Google Play]

Best App for Kids

To be nominated in the category “Best App for Kids,” apps or games should have family-friendly designs and encourage creativity and imagination. They should also educate kids. Here are the nominees:

  • Hot Wheels: Race off

  • Animal Jam – Play Wild!

  • Teeny Titans – Teen Titans Go!

  • Taco Life: Vacation

  • Think! Think!

And the winner is…

Animal Jam – Play Wild! by WildWorks. In this game, kids can create their own animal characters and design homes for them. Kids can communicate with each other, watch the progress of their friends and learn information about real animals. The app encourages children to be curious and care about nature.

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[Image source: Pinterest]

Best Multiplayer Game

Apps named in the Best Multiplayer Game category aim to connect gamers. They have intuitive controls along with convenient multiplayer experiences. Here are the nominees:

  • FIFA Mobile Soccer

  • Lords Mobile

  • Hearthstone

  • Modern Strike Online

  • Dawn of Titans

And the winner is…

Hearthstone by Blizzard Entertainment. Hearthstone is a trading card game that’s been around for years, but has received constant updates and shows no decrease in popularity.

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[Image source: Google Play]

Best Accessibility

Apps named in the Best Accessibility category serve people with disabilities or special needs. Their goal is to enable device interactions to make the use of mobile devices easier for people. Here are the apps nominated in this category:

  • IFTTT (If This Then That)

  • A Blind Legend

  • Eye-D for visually impaired

  • SwiftKey Symbols

  • Open Sesame! Touch Free Access

And the winner is…

IFTTT by IFTTT. This go-to service automates your online services and smarthome devices. IFTTT works with over 400 apps. You can control any of them with your voice using one of your assistants – Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

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[Image source: BGR]

Best Social Impact

Apps that affect meaningful social change for people around the world are nominated in the Best Social Impact category:

  • ProDeaf Translator

  • Charity Miles Walk&Run Tracker

  • Sea Hero Quest

  • Share TheMeal – Help Children

  • Peek Acuity

And the winner is…

Share TheMeal – Help Children by the United Nations. With this application, a user can donate money to feed hungry children in war zones and in areas with food shortages. Donations start at 50 cents, so anyone can participate.

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[Image source: thestar]

Best Game

These are games with advanced mechanics, stellar graphics, strong engagement, and retention tactics. Here are the games nominated for the best game of the year:

  • Choices: Stories You Play

  • TRANSFORMERS: Forget to Fight

And the winner is…

TRANSFORMERS: Forget to Fight by Kabam. This is an action RPG game with different kinds of challenges including battles, conquests. There is the ability to play with your friends and team up against enemies.

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[Image source: Gadget Hacks]

Best App

Google says that these apps are the “true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UI, and high user appeal.” Sounds like a daydream! Here are the heroes:

  • Quik – Free Video Editor

  • Memrise: Learn a new language

  • Fabulous: Motivate Me!

  • Money Lover – Money Manager

  • Citymapper

And the winner is…

Memrise: Learn a new language by Memrise. With this application, a user can learn up to 14 languages with videos of around 30,000 native speakers plus games, challenges, and chatbots. There are more than two million words and phrases in Memrise. Google was impressed by the creativity of Memrise’s developers. The app’s users learn languages by traveling to different worlds and conquering territories. To gain achievements, players have to demonstrate their knowledge of foreign languages. Gamification in education is used by many apps, but in Memrise it’s involved at the deepest level.

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[Image source: Google Play]

The annual Google Play Awards are a great opportunity to find out which are the top mobile app and game developers and to see what criteria are the most important for apps according to Google and the global developer community.

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