These were Google Play's top apps of 2021: Talking Tech podcast

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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Hey there listeners. It’s Brett Molina. Welcome back to Talking Tech. It’s the first day of December, which means of course, we’re getting closer to Christmas and all the other holidays that we celebrate. It also means we’re going to get closer to end of the year, look back type stuff. Google is already ahead of that. They unveiled the apps of the year on Google Play. I wrote about this in a story that you can read on tech.usatoday.com. Let’s start with the app of the year. According to Google Play, which is the hub for apps that are available for Android devices, their best app at 2021 was Balance. It has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Google play. It’s a personal meditation coach where users will answer a series of questions. And based off that they’ll craft a daily meditation plan that’s unique to them.

Let’s hear from Jesse Pickard, who is the founder and CEO at Elevate Labs. This is the studio that creates Balance. “No two people are the same and we wanted to create a personalized mental wellness program that could reflect and support those special differences.” It’s also available on iPhones too. So if you have an iPhone, you want to check it out. It’s available in Apple’s app store. I am sure it… you know, obviously with everything going on with pandemic and just all this stuff, a lot of apps like Balance… Calm is another one that jumps out. I am sure a lot of these meditation apps have grown in popularity as people are just looking for opportunities to relax and meditate, find some moments of peace in the chaos that is pandemic, and goodness knows what else is going on.

Let’s go to games now. In games, Google Play’s best game in 2021 was Pokemon Unite. The company says that dynamic gameplay and cross platform experience are why they chose this game. The way the game works, it has players put together teams of five Pokemon creatures, and they band together and they compete in a series of online battles with other players who have their own teams. So it’s like five versus five kind of thing. I haven’t had a chance to check it out. I still have Pokemon GO on my phone, and I still pop in there from time to time just to check it out, see what’s new. But I’ll have to check this out. This looks like a really fun game. I’ve always been a fan of the Pokemon game.

So I think it’s worth giving it a shot. Users got to vote on this too. The top app according to Google play users was Paramount Plus, the new streaming service from ViacomCBS that launched earlier this year. It’s got a lot of programming obviously from Paramount and from CBS. But it’s also got stuff like Nickelodeon, MTV, all those different networks that are within Viacom. The top game according to users on Google play was Garena Free Fire MAX. I apologize in advance if I’m not pronouncing that correctly. It’s a battle royale game, similar to Fortnite, where 50 players drop on an island and they compete to be the last one standing.

So there you go. Those are the top apps on Google Play, according to both Google, and according to Android users. Obviously Apple is going to chime in as well. Because as you know, every year they come out with their app of the year and their game of the year to highlight what’s going on in the app store. We’ll have you covered on that front as well. Be sure to visit tech.usatoday.com for the latest on that. Listeners, let’s hear from you. Do you have any comments, questions, or show ideas? Any tech problems you want us to try to address? If you’re an Android phone owner, what’s been your app of the year or your game of the year?

Let me know on Twitter at brettmolina23. And for the record, I read all these messages that you send me on Twitter. Shout out to listener Russ Larkin who reached out in response to our episode recently on what to do if you lose your smartphone. He chimed in with a really great tip. Let me read it to you right now. ” A technique I use is, I edit my lock screen photo so that it shows a different contact phone number and my email address. Anyone can see it without unlocking the phone.” That’s actually a really smart idea to have that as a backup.

So yeah, if you lose your phone, all anyone has to do is pick it up. They see the lock screen, they see a contact in an email, and they can find you right away. Russ, great thinking. I’m going to have to consider that myself. That’s a really smart idea. And like I said, I read all these messages, so please send them away. Don’t forget too, subscribe and rate us or leave a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, anywhere you get your podcasts. Also, do you want tech news delivered right to your inbox? Subscribe to the Talking Tech newsletter. Go to newsletters.usatoday.com to subscribe. You’ve been listening to Talking Tech. We’ll be back tomorrow with another quick hit from the world of tech.

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