Google I/O’s keynote may be a couple of hours off yet, but Google has kicked off the Google I/O celebrations early by unveiling the winners of its annual Google Play Awards. This year’s awards were centered on awarding excellence in a couple of different areas, which broadly include themes of social responsibility and self care, accessibility, and the best breakout examples of games and apps from this year. The Play Awards also featured three new award categories for this year: Most Inventive, Best Living Room Experience, and Most Beautiful Game.
Google seems particularly keen to highlight the apps that are really trying to change lives for the better, whether that’s through mental self care, increasingly accessibility for less able users, or by reaching out to people to give and receive helpful advice. Self-care app Woebot took home the award for Standout Well-Being App thanks to its ability to offer relief for those with anxiety through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, intelligent mood tracking, and a confidential space to voice their concerns and issues.
The award for Best Accessibility Experience was won by vision-assisting app Envision AI. This impressive app helps those with visual impairments by using A.I. to read out written text, identify objects, recognize friends, and lots more. Best Social Impact was awarded to Wisdo, an app that aims to bring people with similar life journeys together, and gives them the chance to share and receive life advice, enriching the lives of others whether they’re looking for help with coping with depression, going vegan, being pregnant, or more.
But there’s room for fun in Google’s awards, too. Shadowgun Legends picked up the award for the Most Beautiful Game, while superhero-packed Marvel Strike Force was given the prize for the Best Breakout Game thanks to its strong growth and user reviews. Tick Tock: A Tale for Two‘s multiplayer experience was also rewarded in the Most Inventive category, and anyone who’s played the game’s two-player cross-device, cross-platform experience would probably agree.
But entertainment didn’t have to be game-based, as some of the other winners demonstrated. Neverthink: Handpicked videos‘s dedication to bringing you and those around you together with the latest videos saw it get the Best Living Room Experience award, while anyone looking for a more old-fashioned approach to fun should check out Slowly – Connect to the World!, which won the Best Breakthrough App award. Slowly is best described as a digital way to experience the fun of having a pen pal, including the wait times between letters. Finally, the award for Standout Build for Billions Experience went to the poster-creating Canva app, thanks in large part to its easy-to-use interface and seamless creation process.
If you’re interested in taking a closer look at the winners and the other entries in each category, Google has handily grouped them all in its Google Play Awards 2019 page, while you can take a look at some of our favorite Android apps and the best Android games if you’re hungry for more.