Google announced ‘Google Play Awards’ ahead of 2018 I/O event

Google’s Android Excellence program bestowed praise on apps and games on what was considered to offer a high-quality experience. Now, the company has used Google I/O to reveal the winners of the 2018 Google Play Awards. The award recognizes the best applications in various categories. With nominees first announced 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. All the apps have a high star rating on the Play Store and follow the Android’s stringent guidelines. Additionally, these apps either launched or have had a major update since April 2017.

The company says:

The Google Play Awards highlight developers that strive for quality and drive innovation on Android. This year’s nominees span nine different categories, but all have shown a dedication to creating unique experiences for users to enjoy. Congratulations to our 2018 winners!

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 Build for Billions Experience

In the ‘Standout Build for Billions Experience’ category, the app from India’s online shopping giant – Flipkart has been named the winner. These are apps or games with optimized localization, performance and culturalization for emerging markets.

Standout Well-Being App

The app from Simple Habit Inc wins the title of best ‘standout well-being’ app. According to Google, this category includes apps that empower people to live the best version of their lives, while demonstrating responsible engagement and design strategies.

Best Accessibility Experience

This app from Be My Eyes gets the top honours in the “best accessibility experience” category. The apps/games in this category enable device interaction that serves people with disabilities or special needs.

Best Social Impact

This app by Khan Academy is named as the app with “best social impact”. According to Google, the apps or games in this category create a positive impact in communities around the world (focused on education, crisis response, health, refugees, financial health and fundraising functions).

Standout Indie

Award in the “best Standout Indie app” category went to “Old Man’s Journey”. The category has games from indie developers that focus on gameplay mechanics, artistic design and overall polish.

Best Community Building Game

‘Best Community Building Game’ category’s winner is “Episode” by pocket games. This category has games built to connect gamers, encouraging social interaction and community building.

Best AR or VR Experience

This app by BBC Worldwide (Ltd) gets top honours among the “Best AR or VR Experience category”. This category includes apps or games that offer highly-engaging and immersive experiences with the optimal use of ARCore or Daydream UI.

Standout Startup

This app by Canva is named as the best app in ‘Standout Startup’ category. This category has apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong organic install growth.

Best Breakthrough Hit

For this year, Empires & Puzzles by Small Giant Games has been named ‘Best Breakthrough Hit’. This category includes new apps or games with excellent user experience, overall design, engagement and retention, and strong organic install growth.

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