Google hosted the first-ever Google Play Awards this year at Google I/O, its annual developer conference held at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. The Awards aren’t too different from the company’s “Best of” lists, but involved specific categories ranging from “Best App” to “Best Standout Startup.”
“We’re now reaching over 1 billion users every month and there’s literally something for everyone,” Google noted in an email. “From real-time multiplayer to beautiful Indie games, industry changing startups to innovative uses of mobile technology, developers like you continue to push the boundaries of what apps can do.”
The awards were live-streamed late Thursday, and handed out trophies to 10 winners. These winners are selected by a panel from the Google Play team, and the apps are judged on “app quality and innovation.” Of course, to keep things timely for annual award shows, apps will only be considered if they had a major update or launched in the last 12 months. Five nominees are selected for each of the 10 categories, and unlike Apple, Google doesn’t split its wins between phones and tablets.
The overall Best App award went to Houzz. It’s competition? Colorfy, BuzzFeed News, Yummly, and TuneIn Radio. Houzz is an interior design app that wants to make it easy to find inspiration when designing your home. What’s neat is that you can use the camera on your phone to see how furniture will look in your apartment.
The best Android game in the past 12 months is Clash Royale, which had some pretty fierce competition from the likes of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, and Marvel Future Fight. The Most Innovative app went to The New York Times’ VR app. The media publication has been pretty adoptive of using VR to share unique stories, such as one on the displaced Syrian refugees.
Google also took note of which apps followed its Material Design guidelines the best, and the winner is Robinhood, a simple stock trading app. Of course, Google also looks at the best uses of its Google Play Services — and that award went to Table Tennis Touch.
The Best Standout Startup is Hopper, an app that gives you the best time to fly and buy tickets at lower rates. You can view the full list of winners below:
Best App: Houzz
Best Early Adopter: World Around Me
Best Families App: Thinkrolls 2
Best Go Global: Pokemon Shuffle Mobile
Best Game: Clash Royale
Most Innovative: NYT VR
Best Use of Material Design: Robinhood
Best Standout Indie: Alphabear
Best Use of Google Play Game Services: Table Tennis Touch
Best Standout Startup: Hopper
The Google Play store is a big deal — it’s Google’s way of hosting and offering apps to its billion-plus Android users. Now the Play Store will also make its way to Chromebooks, which recently surpassed Macs in sales in the U.S. for the first time. To give you an idea of its importance, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said at the keynote that more than 65 billion apps were downloaded from the Google Play store — in the past year alone. Talk about app addiction.