Author Archives: Brett Bouchard

Google Play’s Best of 2021

Today, we announced the winners of Google Play’s Best of 2021, a celebration of apps and games that made positive contributions to culture this year. And to encourage innovation across Google Play, we’ve expanded this year’s awards to apps and games on tablets, plus apps on Wear OS and Google TV. By challenging the norm, introducing unique gameplay features and giving users never-before-seen experiences, Google Play’s Best of winners represent what’s next in app and game development.

Similar to our Best of 2020 winners, apps focused on personal growth were in high demand in 2021. This year’s winners found creative, and often meditative, ways to help users get to know themselves on a deeper level. Balance, which earned our Best App of 2021 award, encourages people to find their center through personalized meditations; Moonly provides tips and guidance based on the lunar calendar; and Laughscape helps people reach a meditative state through laughter.

"We are deeply honored that Google chose Balance as its Best App of 2021,” says Jesse Pickard, Founder and CEO at Elevate Labs. “We built Balance with the individual in mind. No two people are the same, and we wanted to create a personalized mental wellness program that could reflect and support those special differences. I also want to thank our customers for their help in our journey. Your engagement and feedback has allowed us to build a truly wonderful product together."

Meanwhile, in gaming, Pokémon UNITE won Best Game for its dynamic gameplay and cross-platform experience. We also saw a surge of independent developers creating imaginative and personal gaming experiences. Indie developer George Batchelor brought us Bird Alone, a game that challenges you to become friends with the “loneliest bird in the world.” And in Donut County, developed by Annapurna Interactive, you play as a growing hole in a physics-based puzzle game.

Check out the full list of this year’s U.S. winners below, ranging from large developers to up-and-coming indies. You can also find your specific country’s winners in the Best of 2021 section of the Play Store.

Users’ Choice 2021

Best App

Best Game

Best of app winners

Best Apps for Good

Best Everyday Essentials

Best for Fun

Best Hidden Gems

Best for Personal Growth

Best for Tablets

Best for Wear

Popular on Google TV

Congratulations again to all of our Best of winners, and a special thanks to our Google Play community for their participation and support. We look forward to seeing what you build next year.

A closer look at 2020’s best apps and games from Google Play

Today, Google Play announced the winners of our Best of 2020 awards, a celebration of apps, games, books, movies and other top content. As we close out this year, we’re taking a look at the apps reshaping our world, and the games giving us an opportunity to explore new ones. 

Apps: a year of personal growth

2020 changed the way we all live, work, and go about the routines that keep us grounded. It was a year of self-reflection and improvement, and many apps played a role in helping us find a path forward.

In the U.S., Chris Hemsworth helped us find our healthy “Centr” by connecting us with trainers, chefs and wellbeing experts, while Intellect helped us focus on our traits, habits, and behaviors to overcome personal challenges with the help of a digital companion, through psychological training.

At the end of each day, we needed time to relax and recharge. So it’s only fitting that Disney+ claimed the U.S. Users’ Choice award for allowing us to dive into the Disney vault–Scrooge McDuck style. We sat back and relaxed with a wealth of content, from old fan favorites to new releases like The Mandalorian. To cap it off, our editors selected Loóna as this year’s Best App for rethinking how we ease into sleep and helping us unwind.

Games: a year captivated by casual 

This year’s selection of games varied more than ever, proving that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

From embarking on breathtaking adventures in The Gardens Between, to channeling our inner wizards in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, then exploring the meaning of friendship through Sky: Children of the Light, 2020’s best games in the U.S. warmed our hearts and challenged our minds. 

The game that embodied this sentiment best is the one that brought us back to Bikini Bottom. That’s right, you rocked the vote and crowned SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off the 2020 U.S. Users’ Choice winner. And Genshin Impact impressed our editors, winning Best Game for giving users a wondrous world to explore and countless mysteries to unravel. 

Discover this year’sbest games and best apps, and check out the full list of winners in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store. 

A closer look at 2020’s best apps and games from Google Play

Today, Google Play announced the winners of our Best of 2020 awards, a celebration of apps, games, books, movies and other top content. As we close out this year, we’re taking a look at the apps reshaping our world, and the games giving us an opportunity to explore new ones. 

Apps: a year of personal growth

2020 changed the way we all live, work, and go about the routines that keep us grounded. It was a year of self-reflection and improvement, and many apps played a role in helping us find a path forward.

In the U.S., Chris Hemsworth helped us find our healthy “Centr” by connecting us with trainers, chefs and wellbeing experts, while Intellect helped us focus on our traits, habits, and behaviors to overcome personal challenges with the help of a digital companion, through psychological training.

At the end of each day, we needed time to relax and recharge. So it’s only fitting that Disney+ claimed the U.S. Users’ Choice award for allowing us to dive into the Disney vault–Scrooge McDuck style. We sat back and relaxed with a wealth of content, from old fan favorites to new releases like The Mandalorian. To cap it off, our editors selected Loóna as this year’s Best App for rethinking how we ease into sleep and helping us unwind.

Games: a year captivated by casual 

This year’s selection of games varied more than ever, proving that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

From embarking on breathtaking adventures in The Gardens Between, to channeling our inner wizards in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, then exploring the meaning of friendship through Sky: Children of the Light, 2020’s best games in the U.S. warmed our hearts and challenged our minds. 

The game that embodied this sentiment best is the one that brought us back to Bikini Bottom. That’s right, you rocked the vote and crowned SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off the 2020 U.S. Users’ Choice winner. And Genshin Impact impressed our editors, winning Best Game for giving users a wondrous world to explore and countless mysteries to unravel. 

Discover this year’sbest games and best apps, and check out the full list of winners in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store. 

Google Play’s Best of 2020

This year, the world came together over games, apps, movies and books, even when we were apart. Together, Google Play fans dove into four new and compelling novellas in “If It Bleeds,” as each took us intriguing places with the master of horror himself, Stephen King. We took one last ride with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the third installment of the “Bad Boys” universe. We embarked on a relaxing journey with “Loóna,” the app that guided us to better sleep through immersive stories. We also explored new lands as games like “Genshin Impact” gave us a stunning peek into the world of Teyvat. These titles are part of Google Play's Best of 2020, and there are even more games and apps to celebrate.


Explore the lists below to see what titles users and Google Play editors loved–and check out the full lists in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store.


Users’ Choice 2020 (U.S.)


Best Game of 2020 (U.S.): Genshin Impact


Best App of 2020 (U.S.): Loóna: Bedtime Calm & Relax


Best Movies of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite movies of 2020 on Google Play


Best Books of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite books of 2020 on Google Play

Google Play’s Best of 2020

This year, the world came together over games, apps, movies and books, even when we were apart. Together, Google Play fans dove into four new and compelling novellas in “If It Bleeds,” as each took us intriguing places with the master of horror himself, Stephen King. We took one last ride with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the third installment of the “Bad Boys” universe. We embarked on a relaxing journey with “Loóna,” the app that guided us to better sleep through immersive stories. We also explored new lands as games like “Genshin Impact” gave us a stunning peek into the world of Teyvat. These titles are part of Google Play's Best of 2020, and there are even more games and apps to celebrate.


Explore the lists below to see what titles users and Google Play editors loved–and check out the full lists in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store.


Users’ Choice 2020 (U.S.)


Best Game of 2020 (U.S.): Genshin Impact


Best App of 2020 (U.S.): Loóna: Bedtime Calm & Relax


Best Movies of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite movies of 2020 on Google Play


Best Books of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite books of 2020 on Google Play

Google Play’s Best of 2020 is back: Vote for your favorites

Google Play’s 2020 Best of awards are back—capping off a year unlike any other. Once again, we want to hear about your favorite content on Google Play. 


Starting today until November 23, you can help pick our Users’ Choice winners by voting for your favorites from a shortlist of this year’s most loved and trending apps, games, movies, and books.


To cast your vote, visit this page before submissions close on November 23. Don’t forget to come back when the Users’ Choice winners, along with the rest of the Best of 2020 picks from our Google Play editors, are announced on December 1.

Google Play’s Best of 2019

2019 took us to distant worlds and brought us together with new apps, games, movies and books. We answered the Call of Duty, made photos move, and went back to Gilead—it was an amazing year from beginning to Endgame. Now, we’re celebrating the year’s top content across Google Play.

You rocked the vote to crown your favorites … and the votes are in: Your 2019 Users’ Choice winners are Call of Duty: Mobile, Video Editor - Glitch Video Effects, Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Explore the lists below to see what the Google Play editors loved and what topped the charts in U.S. entertainment this year. And check out the full lists in the Best of 2019 section of the Play Store.

Google Play fans, vote for your favorite content of 2019

We want to hear from you—what was your favorite content on Google Play in 2019? 

Select from a shortlist of the year’s most-loved and trending titles across apps, games, movies, and books, including Enlight Pixaloop, Mario Kart Tour, Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame, and The Mister. To cast your vote, head to this page before the polls close on November 25.

And the fun doesn’t stop there: The Users’ Choice winners, along with the rest of the Best of 2019 picks from our Google Play editors, will be announced on December 3. Stay tuned.

Announcing Google Play’s “Best of 2017”

To close out another great year for Google Play, we’re sharing the best and most popular apps, games, music, movies, TV shows and books in 2017.

No one knows how far she can go better than “Moana,” as she landed the most popular movie of the year on Google Play. Strong female characters dominated this year’s movies chart with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Wonder Woman” rounding out the top three. “Game of Thrones” kept “Rick and Morty” and “The Walking Dead” at bay to claim the Iron Throne for the second year in a row as the most popular TV show. Elsewhere, Kendrick Lamar may no longer be so “HUMBLE.” after beating out Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” as Google Play’s most streamed song of 2017. Kendrick’s “DNA” also holds the number three spot on this list.

Nintendo’s “Super Mario Run” was the most downloaded new game of the year, but not all bubbles were burst, as “Bubble Witch 3 Saga” was closely behind at number two. "Photo Editor - Beauty Camera & Photo Filters” was the most downloaded new app with fans touching up their favorite photos for social media. We also have curated lists this year from our editors to help you find the best apps and games of 2017, such as “Socratic - Math Answers & Homework Help” and “CATS: Crash Area Turbo Stars,” respectively.

Check out Google Play’s top five lists below for this year’s most popular content in the U.S. You can also discover the most popular lists around the world and all our editors’ choices on the Best of 2017 section of the Play Store.

Spreading holiday cheer with great deals on Google Play

As temperatures drop, stay warm and entertained with these hot holiday deals on Google Play. Starting today, you’ll be able to find your favorite movies, apps, games, music, TV and books at deep discounts. Just in time for the holidays, these deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday run through November 27 in select markets.

Battle in your favorite games—not the crowds—on Black Friday.

Avoid store crowds and battle it out with a favorite game instead. Google Play offers discounts of up to 80 percent for premium games, including Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies, LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin and LEGO® Jurassic World™  and more. You’ll also get special discounts, power ups and unlimited lives for the perennially popular Gardenscapes and Homescapes games on Google Play.

Set the mood with Google Play Music.

‘Tis the season to start playing songs of cheer. You can get a Google Play Music subscription free for four months, for the right songs to suit your mood anytime.

Survive the season with must-have apps.

When you need a last-minute recipe or a mental break from those holiday errands, Google Play has you covered with discounts on hundred of apps, including a 50 percent discount on a monthly subscription to Colorfy.

Take a turkey break with a movie or TV show.

Once the meal is done and the dishes are cleared, wind down with a favorite classic or a new release as Google Play offers 50 percent off any one movie to own and 25 percent off a TV season of your choice starting on November 23. You’ll also be able to rent any movie for 99 cents for one day only on November 25.

Whether it’s catching up on the latest episodes of “The Walking Dead” or “Outlander,” the latest Minion antics in “Despicable Me 3” or a young Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” there’s something the entire family can enjoy.

Snuggle in with a good book.

The weather outside may be frightful, but a good book can be delightful. Whether it’s a bedtime story or the latest mystery, Google Play is offering a $5 credit towards any book over $5 and discounts on top titles starting on November 23. You can also find some of the most popular omnibus comics books, including Batman: The Complete Hush, Thor and Flashpoint, for $5 or less on November 25 only.

For more information on these and other deals throughout the season, head to Google Play’s Holiday Hub.