Continuing its annual tradition, Google today announced its Best of 2020 awards — the company’s list of the best apps, games, movies and books for the year. Not surprisingly, the top apps picked by both Google Play users and editors reflect the stressful year that 2020 has been, with a top sleep app, Loóna, winning the title of “Best App” of 2020 in the U.S. Meanwhile, Google Play users picked streaming service Disney+ as their choice in the market.
Loóna is a fitting app to win the award this year. The sleep aid promises a mood-altering experience that helps its users deal with the negative emotions that accumulate during the day and are then processed during sleep. As anxiety and stress grow, people’s sleep patterns and REM sleep can be disrupted, Loóna explains. To combat this, its app offers nightly “sleepscapes” that combine activity-based relaxation, storytelling and sounds to help people shut out their stress and thus relax.
Unlike other sleep or meditation apps where users close their eyes and drift off, Loóna is intended to help people wind down while still on their phones. Users tap to color images while the sleep story plays. The company also this year introduced music playlists, called soundscapes.
In October, the company reported its app — which is also available on iOS — was seeing daily average time spent of 34 minutes from its subscribers. And its average conversion rate from trial to paid subscriber was 52.5%. Today, Loóna says it has reached 500,000 users and people have spent more than 35 million total mindful minutes with its product to date. With version 2.0, Loóna plans to reposition its app from being solely focused on bedtime relaxation to become a broader mood management app that also covers the sleep to wake up cycle, among other things. It also plans to add personalized content recommendations.
In addition to Loóna, Google Play editors selected the free-to-play action role-playing game Genshin Impact as the year’s best game for giving players a “wondrous world to explore” while unraveling mysteries. The game, miHoYo’s first-ever open-world game, features battles with elemental magic, character switching and gacha game monetization for obtaining new characters, weapons and other additions.
Google Play users, however, selected SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off as the year’s best game.
Another app that benefitted from coronavirus lockdowns was Disney+, which won this year’s User’s Choice award for Best App. The streaming service helped families stuck at home to keep their kids entertained. Plus, with new shows like the “The Mandalorian,” the service has been a hit for adults in the family, too.
In addition to the top winners, Google gave a shout-out to a few other notable titles, including Chris Hemsworth’s training app Centr, behavioral modification app Intellect, as well as games like The Gardens Between, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells and Sky: Children of the Light.
The Play Store also awarded various gaming subgenres with awards of their own, like best competitive games, best indies, best pick up and play and best game changers. These winners include Brawlhalla, Bullet Echo, GWENT: The Witcher Card Game, Legends of Runeterra, The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross, Cookies Must Die, GRIS, inbento, Maze Machina, Sky: Children of Light, Disney Frozen Adventures, DreamWorks Trolls Pop, EverMerge, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off, Fancade, Genshin Impact, Minimal Dungeon RPG, Ord., and The Gardens Between.
Other top apps won awards in categories like best everyday essentials, best for personal growth, best hidden gems, best for fun and best apps for good. These app winners include Calmaria, Grid Diary, The Pattern, Whisk, Zoom, Centr, Intellect, Jumprope: How-to Videos, Paired: Couples App, Speekoo, Cappuccino, Explorest, Loóna, Paperless Post, Tayasui Sketches, Bazaart, Disney+, Dolby On, Reface, Vita, GreenChoice, Medito and ShareTheMeal.
Movies that won “Best of” for 2020 included “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” “Just Mercy,” “Miss Juneteenth,” “Onward” and “Parasite”; while book winners included “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama, “The City We Became” by N.K. Jesmin, “Riot Baby” by Tochi Onyebuchi, “Solutions and Other Problems” by Allie Brosh and “You Had Me at Hola” by Alexis Daria.