In a departure from previous years, the Google Play Awards were unveiled on the eve of I/O 2018. With nominees first announced late last month, these are the top Android apps and games as chosen by Google employees throughout the company.
There are nine categories with criteria including quality, design, and technical performance. Selected by teams of Googlers, all the apps have a high star rating on the Play Store and follow the Android vitals guidelines. Additionally, these apps either launched or have had a major update since April 2017.
As Google focused on areas like well-being, accessibility, and social impact, there was no Wear OS or TV category in 2018. However, the reduced focus on platforms did not apply to the burgeoning augmented and virtual reality field, with one combined award. Additionally, there was no outright award for best app or game.
Standout Well-Being App
Apps empowering people to live the best version of their lives, while demonstrating responsible design and engagement strategies.
- Simple Habit by Simple Habit, Inc.
Best Accessibility Experience
Apps or games enabling device interaction that serves people with disabilities or special needs.
- Be My Eyes by Be My Eyes
Best Social Impact
Apps or games that create a positive impact in communities around the world (focused on health, education, crisis response, refugees, financial health and fundraising functions).
- Khan Academy by Khan Academy
Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, gameplay mechanics and overall polish.
- Old Man’s Journey by Broken Rules Interactive Media GmbH
Best Community Building Game
Games built to connect gamers, encouraging social interaction and community building.
- Episode by Pocket Gems
Best AR or VR Experience
Apps or games offering highly engaging and immersive experiences with optimal use of ARCore or Daydream UI.
- BBC Earth: Life in VR by BBC Worldwide (Ltd)
Standout Build for Billions Experience
Apps or games with optimized performance, localization and culturalization for emerging markets.
- Flipkart by Flipkart
Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong organic install growth.
- Canva by Canva
Best Breakthrough Hit
New apps or games with excellent overall design, user experience, engagement and retention, and strong organic install growth.
- Empires & Puzzles by Small Giant Games
You can also view all the winners, as well as nominees, on Android or the web in the new Google Play collection.