In 2015, Google introduced the first Material Design Awards after Google’s visual design language premiered two years ago, during the I/O event. This year, Google announced the nominations in April, on its Android Developer’s Blog, and the winners were awarded during the Google Play Awards.

Applications on Google Play Store could compete in 10 award categories, each featuring five nominees. The categories were Standout Startup, Standout Indie, Best Families App, Best Use of Material Design, Best Use of Google Play Game Services, Early Adopter, Go Global, Most Innovative apps or games, Best App and Best Game. Google decided to incorporate all apps in these categories, instead of having separate sections for phone, tablet or smartwatch apps.

All nominated applications were featured on a dedicated collection on Google Play, and nominees were selected by a panel of experts from Google’s Play Store team. The criteria for nomination ranged from app quality, innovation and having a launch or major update in the past 12 months.

Half of the winners are game apps

Half of the winners were game apps, and most of them are free but contain in-app purchases. Clash Royale won the Best Game award, and Hopper got the award for best Standout Startup. Hopper is a neat application that analyzes flight prices and predicts how prices will change while also providing users with notifications on where to find the cheapest flight.

NYT VR was awarded the Most Innovative app on the Play Store. NYT VR contains a series of videos created by the New York Times staff and transposed into virtual reality.

The big winner of the Google Play Awards was definitely Houzz, an interior design app that was crowned this year’s Best Overall App. Houzz has millions of downloads on the Play Store, and it gives users access to a large collection of home pictures. It can also connect users with architects, contractors and designs for various home improvement projects.

The complete list of winners at Google Play Awards is available below:

  • Best Overall app – Houzz
  • Best Families app – Thinkrolls 2
  • Best Game – Clash Royale
  • Best Use of Material Design – Robinhood
  • Best Use of Google Play Game Services – Table Tennis Touch
  • Early Adopter – World Around Me
  • Go Global – Pokemon Shuffle Mobile
  • Most Innovative – NYT VR
  • Standout Indie – Alphabear
  • Standout Startup – Hopper

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