2024 is about a month away, and to celebrate the end of the year, Google has named the winners of the Google Play’s Best of 2023 Awards.
For the sake of brevity, we're going to primarily focus on the best Androids apps as the company introduced a new categories for this year, such as Best with AI and Best Multi-device App. This caused the list to grow by a significant amount so we couldn’t include the likes of the best Chromebook or best tablet apps (If you’re curious to know, the winner of the best Chromebook app is FlipaClip, software that can help people create 2D animation, and the winner for best tablet app is Concepts, a vector-based drawing tool).
Google states the list on its blog is centered around the American winners. Other countries are said to have different winners. However, when we looked at other region, the entries matched the US list except for a single outlier which we’ll shout out later on.
Android Apps of the Year
1. Imprint: Learn Visually
Google has given the Best App of 2023 award to Imprint: Learn Visually, an education software that strives to teach you new skills and the world around you in bite-sized lessons. It offers a personalized experience where you can learn about topics that interest you from human history to psychology. And Imprint does this via eye-catching visual storytelling.
Spotify has earned the Best Multi-device App award for allowing music streaming across a variety of locations – be it in the kitchen, on the commute to hike, or out on the town. The company highlights the service’s ability to “remotely control playback on another device”. Plus, you can download your favorite songs for offline listening. What’s interesting, it's the only music streaming app on the whole list.
At the beginning of November, Google allowed people to come in to vote for what they believed was the best app of the year. Winning the Users’ Choice Award is ChatGPT, which isn’t surprising in our opinion. ChatGPT took the world by storm in 2023 as one of the premiere generative AI platforms and whose technology fuels Microsoft’s Bing Chat. On top of that, 2024 is shaping up to be a big year for it.
4. Bumble For Friends: Meet IRL
If you’re looking to make new friends or have recently moved to a different city, the company recommends installing Bumble For Friends (BFF for short) on your smartphone. It differs from the regular Bumble app as it doesn't focus on helping you find dates. Instead, BFF is all about helping you make genuine friendships, as the name suggests, with others in your local area
5. Voidpet Garden: Mental Health
Voidpet Garden: Mental Health won the Best for Personal Growth award and it’s pretty unique. Its goal is to help you practice mindfulness and self care as a way to improve your mental health. It does this in a Pokemon-esque manner by having you collect Void Pets which are said to be creatures born from negative emotion. You raise these creatures by completing tasks in order to turn them into celestial-looking dragons with each representing a positive attribute about the user.
6. Artifact: Feed Your Curiosity
Artifact: Feed Your Curiosity is similar to Imprint: Learn Visually in that it’s an app that can teach users about the world, but it does so in a different way. The service functions like X’s (formerly known as Twitter) Explore page by offering a curated stream of news articles from across the internet. It covers a variety of topics like the tech industry, politics, and gaming. Users even have the option to mark certain stories as clickbait for better curation.
In the UK, the award went to ReciMe, a social platform where home cooks share their family recipes.
7. Aware: Mindfulness & Wellbeing
Aware is another mental health app like Voidpet Garden although it takes a more grounded approach towards mindfulness. It’s a type of journaling software housing “science-based exercises [alongside] live guided sessions”. You don’t have to create an account, plus it’s totally free. No subscription necessary.
It’s worth mentioning this has the least amount of downloads out of everything on this roundup although we do expect it to grow exponentially since it won the Best Hidden Gem award.
8. Character AI: AI-Powered Chat
Despite winning the Users’ Choice award, ChatGPT was effectively snubbed by Google as it didn’t get the crown for Best AI. That honor went to Character AI, an app filled with personality-driven chat bots that you can talk to. For example, you can talk to Amelia Earhart, Julius Caesar, or Poseidon, God of the Ocean. People can even talk to Whiskers the Cat.
As you can probably guess, it’s not meant to be taken seriously. It aims to be a fun interactive experience – almost like a video game.
9. PAW Patrol Academy
For families, Google has given the nod to PAW Patrol Academy, an app where young kids ages two to five can learn problem-solving skills, gain confidence, and get in touch with their creative side. It features characters from the popular animated series in a variety of interactive adventures as well as clips from certain episodes. What’s more is it doesn’t need to connect to Wi-Fi so kids can enjoy it on the go.
10. AWorld in support of ActNow
Rounding out the list of Google’s best Android apps for 2023 is AWorld in support of ActNow. Its purpose is to teach people how to counteract climate change by calculating their carbon footprint and learn how they can change their lifestyle to reduce the impact they may have on the environment. The software will recommend basic activities like planting trees to lessen carbon emissions or use natural products among other things. AWorld will also encourage you to join group challenges by completing a set number of environmentally-friendly actions.
And that’s Google’s list of recommendations.If you want to know what’s at the top on iOS, check out TechRadar’s roundup of the 14 best iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch of the year – according to Apple.