If Santa left you a brand-new Android smartphone or tablet under the Christmas tree this morning, you’re probably looking for some new apps, movies, television shows and more to really make the most of your shiny new gadget. Thankfully, Google recently revealed its rundown of its favourite picks from the Google Play Store.
The Play Store now counts an impressive 2.8 million apps on its digital shelves – so finding the cream of the crop can be a bit of a slow slog. We’ve got the highlights of Google’s comprehensive Best Of awards. It comes as Apple has revealed the best iPhone, iPad and Mac apps of the year too.
The results of the Best Of 2019 awards have started to appear in the Play Store in the United States.
In the UK, the Play Store is filled with lists of the best selling apps, most watched movies and TV shows – Google has named its own favourites. If this changes, we’ll update this article with any UK-specific picks that might differ from those selected by the Google mothership on the other side of the pond.
First up, the big one – Best App.
Google has highlighted Ablo – a new service designed to put you in touch with new people from around the globe. Designed to help you “make new friends worldwide,” the app lets you send instant messages as well as make and receive video calls from your new acquaintances.
“With Ablo you’ll be making meaningful connections with real people from all cultural backgrounds. No matter what language you speak, you will be able to talk to anyone from anywhere! Enjoy enriching experiences as if everyone speaks your language,” the app claims.
Google says Ablo got the prestigious award because of its “ingenuity and polish”.
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Elsewhere, Google has highlighted some of the best Hidden Gems that might have been lost in all the noise from the biggest names in the Play Store. These span a wide range of topics – from Big Bang AR from CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) which lets you peer through the viewfinder of your smartphone to watch the formation of the very first stars, our solar system, and the planet in the palm of your hand.
Mash-Up – an app that lets you start a short (and preferably funny) video clip, which is then continued by another user somewhere else in the world – also gets a gong. Elsewhere, Melody VR – designed to let you watch sold-out gigs from a front row seat using a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, GIF maker Morph and podcast app Swoot also get a shout-out from Google in the Hidden Gems category.
Google has also showcased a few apps in its Everyday Essentials category. These award-winners are designed to make your life a little easier each and every day. The first of these is Appy Weather, which presents a hyperlocal forecast in a streamlined timeline that summarises everything you need to know at a quick glance. It also includes 10 different possible widgets to bring the weather to your home screen on Android.
Also awarded in this category was Boosted – an app designed to keep track of your time to make you more productive at work, Curio – that employs narrators to read articles from 30 newspapers and magazines for those who don’t fancy starting the day by reading the news, Endel – that uses AI to create a soundscape designed to help you focus, or sleep. Transport app Omio, which is designed to help you plan trips around Europe by plane and train.
Of course, not all of these have been decided by the head honchos at Google. There is also a category for apps picked-out by Android users.
The Users Choice award goes to Video Editor – Glitch Video Effects. This video editor lets you add more than 100 VHS-style glitches and blurs to the crisp 4K footage you’ve shot on your smartphone camera. Not only that, but you can also merge photos and video together to create elaborate slideshows to show-off to family, friends, or social media users about your latest holiday.
Call Of Duty Mobile has been named as the Best Game on the Play Store this year. If you’re familiar with the run-and-gun shooter on the PS4 and Xbox One, there isn’t anything massively ground-breaking here. But while the game shrinks the scale a little to get everything to fit on the smaller smartphone screen, you’ll still find a lot of your favourite modes, including the Zombies mini-game, co-operative gameplay and online gunfights.
The Users Choice in the same category has also been awarded to Call Of Duty Mobile.
Meanwhile, Avengers Endgame won the Best Movie on the Play Store award, while Game Of Thrones got top spot on the podium as the Best TV Show.
You can find the full list of winners right here.