During the Google I/O 2016 event, the inaugural Google Play Awards winners were announced. While in previous years, Google had rounded up apps for “Best of” lists, the new model is reminiscent of Apple Design Awards, a small-scale award show where Apple honors app developers by recognizing their work and success over the previous year. Whereas Apple picks winners from categories such as best apps for phone, watch, and tablet, Google took a different approach by not differentiating between apps built for phone, tablet or watch. The Google Play Awards winners were selected by a panel of experts at Google, rated on factors including launching or having a major update in the past 12 months, app quality, and innovation out of five Play Award nominees across ten categories.
Google didn’t limit itself to mainstream categories, it also nominated apps that included a group of developers who were implementing Google’s services like “Best Use of Google Play Game Services,” as well as those who did the best job of taking advantage of Google’s newer design language, Material Design, etc. The Play Awards 2016 also included categories like “Standout Startup” and “Early Adopter".
The Play Award nominees were announced as of April 21, 2016. Earlier this week, At the Google I/O 2016, it announced that app installs from Google Play had reached 65 billion in 2015.
— Google Developers (@googledevs) May 20, 2016
Interior design app, Houzz took home the Best App award, beating BuzzFeed News, Colorfy, TuneIn Radio, and Yummly. After a tight race against Alphabear, Clash of Kings, MARVEL Future Fight, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, the new game from Supercell Clash Royale won the Best Game Award. Alphabear may have lost the Best Game title, but it walked away with the Standout Indie Award. Smart airfare prediction engine Hopper grabbed “Best Standout Startup” and Robinhood, a millennial-focused investing app won “Best Use of Material Design.”
Head below for the full list of Google Play Awards winners:
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