Apple has historically doled out annual awards to those third-party app developers that it believes have created the best apps and games over the past 12 months. Now, Google is launching its own take on app awards with the debut of what it’s calling the “Google Play Awards.” But while familiar in concept, Google’s version will tweak the formula somewhat from Apple’s version.
While Apple’s annual awards are announced at year-end just ahead of the holidays, in order to present a group that made waves during the past calendar year, Google’s award winners will be announced at the company’s I/O conference in May.
According to Google’s announcement, the program will feature five nominees across 10 categories, and these are now showcased in a special collection on Google Play.
The apps will be chosen by a “panel of experts” at Google, and will be rated on a number of factors, including app quality and innovation. In addition, the apps will need to have either launched or had a major update over the last 12 months, in order to qualify.
The company also announced the first group of nominees for these new awards.
What’s interesting about Google’s round-up versus Apple’s list is that, instead of focusing on best apps and games per platform (e.g. mobile, tablet, watch, etc.) along with the “most innovative,” Google features apps across a wider variety of categories.
For example, Google’s list highlights those developers who are taking best advantage of Google’s own services, like the apps for “Best Use of Google Play Game Services,” as well as those whose apps have done the best job of implementing Google’s newer design language, “Material Design.”
Plus, Google is using the awards to promote the fact that its platform is also home to innovative technology and startups. A number of new companies continue to launch on iOS first so, to some extent, categories like “Standout Startup,” “Early Adopter” and “Most Innovative” speak to the fact that there are modern, technically advanced apps on Google Play, too.
Other categories include “Standout Indie,” “Best Families App” and “Go Global” — the latter which focuses on apps that are localized, or appeal across cultures and regions.
Of course, there are still two main categories that all developers will vie for: “Best App” and “Best Game.”
The full list of this year’s nominees are below.
Some of the apps in Google’s list made an appearance in Apple’s “Best of” 2015 list as well, including Robinhood and Hopper. Robinhood additionally became the first finance company to ever win the Apple Design Award last year, and was a runner-up for best iPhone app of 2015.
Google also notes that its Google Play storefront reached more than 1 billion Android users across 190 countries over the past year.