At WWDC this month, Apple introduced an entirely revamped App Store that puts a much greater focus on editorial, with plans for stories about the apps, how to’s, interviews, and more, in addition to regular postings of curated lists and “app of the day” type features. Today, Google announced its own plans to expand editorial involvement on Google Play, with the launch of its new “Android Excellence” program.
The idea with “Android Excellence” is offer Google Play’s editors the ability to showcase the highest-quality apps and games on Android on a rotating basis. Like Apple’s “Editor’s Choice” round-ups which often highlight new iOS features or are top-tier examples of great design, the new “Android Excellence” collections will also be used to highlight the sort of apps Google wants developers to build for its own mobile platform.
Explains Google, those chosen for the new collections will deliver “incredible user experiences on Android,” take advantage of Google’s best practices, or have “great design, technical performance, localization, or device optimization.”
The collections are kicking off today, and will be broken into two groups – apps and games. These will be found in a revamped Editors’ Choice section of the Play Store, where Google is also featuring other app and game reviews curated by its editorial team. This section today includes themed round-ups – like “great runner games” or “travel apps for your next adventure,” for example – where editors also briefly explain why the app was selected for the list.
“Android Excellence” collections will be showcased below these themed lists on Google Play.
However, where Apple’s new App Store arriving in iOS 11 this fall is designed to encourage daily visits with an ever-changing selection of stories and recommendations, Google’s “Android Excellence” collections will only be refreshed quarterly. That may not be ideal for end users in terms of app discovery, as the collections may grow stale after a few weeks’ time. But for the app developers who gain the featured spot, it could be a significant means of attracting new downloads for a long period of time.
Alongside the launch of the new program, Google also announced its first Android Excellence apps and games lineups. They are as follows:
AliExpress by Alibaba Mobile
B&H Photo Video by B&H Photo Video
Citymapper by Citymapper Limited
Drivvo by Drivvo
drupe by drupe
Evernote by Evernote Corporation
HotelTonight by HotelTonight
Kitchen Stories by Kitchen Stories
Komoot by komoot GmbH
Lifesum by Lifesum
Memrise by Memrise
Pocket by Read It Later
Runtastic Running & Fitness by Runtastic
Skyscanner by Skyscanner Ltd
Sleep as Android by Urbandroid Team
Vivino by Vivino
After the End Forsaken Destiny by NEXON M Inc.
CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars by ZeptoLab
Golf Clash by Playdemic
Hitman GO Square Enix Ltd
Horizon Chase by Aquiris Game Studio S.A
Kill Shot Bravo by Hothead Games
Lineage Red Knights by NCSOFT Corporation
Nonstop Knight by flaregames
PAC-MAN 256 – Endless Maze by Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe
Reigns by DevolverDigital
Riptide GP: Renegade by Vector Unit
Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts
Titan Brawl by Omnidrone
Toca Blocks by Toca Boca
Transformers: Forged to Fight by Kabam
This is not the only way that Google is recognizing its favorite apps. Besides its Editor’s Choice page and its app recommendations, Google also continues to host its “Google Play Awards” at its I/O developer conference to select top apps and games across a number of categories, like “standout indie,” “standout startup,” “best Android Wear,” “Best VR experience” and more.
Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of overlap between the recent Play Award nominees and winners and the new Android Excellence collections. However, they are not exact duplicates.
The Android Excellence collections can be viewed here on Google Play.