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article imageGoogle reveals the best apps and games of 2016

By James Walker     Dec 5, 2016 in Technology
Google has released its list of the best content on the Play Store during 2016. It has indexed the most popular apps, games, music, movies, TV shows and books to highlight the top trends of the year. The full charts can be viewed on the Google Play Store.
Google's annual take on the best of the Play Store has expanded this year to place a greater emphasis on every kind of content. In previous years, it's concentrated on apps and games. The Store's expansion to different kinds of material has been recognised by Google. Popular songs and movies now also get recognition in the company's global charts.
The most popular trending app of 2016 was Face Changer 2. It's a selfie app that lets you swap faces with friends, add morph effects, overlay hats, glasses, accessories and stickers and then share the result on social media. It boasts over 50 million downloads and has a rating of 4.3-stars on Google Play.
Lumyer Photo & Selfie Editor comes second in the global trending chart. It brings filters and animated effects to video. Layers can be added in real time as you record. The app also supports photos. It has a rating of 4.5-stars and around 10 million downloads.
Third in the app chart is CastBox, a podcast and radio app that won the Most Entertaining of Best Apps 2016 Google Play award. CastBox hosts over 340,000 podcasts and 70,000 radio stations. It has 5 million downloads and a 4.5-star rating. It's followed in the app chart by Emoji Keyboard Pro, featuring thousands of emoji, and video selfie service MSQRD in fourth and fifth place respectively.
The inevitable leader of the games chart is Pokémon GO. The title became a runaway viral hit during the summer, bringing a form of augmented reality gaming to the masses and encouraging people to explore their local area. With over 500,000,000 downloads, it's one of the biggest apps on the Play Store. It currently has a rating of 4.0.
Strategy game Clash Royale, developed by the creators of Clash of Clans, is second in the games chart. It's followed by endless racing title Traffic Rider. Fourth and fifth places go to the multiplayer action game and popular sports title Dream League Soccer respectively.
Google's list of the top five most streamed songs of 2016 reveals the most popular artists of the year. In the global charts, Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots was the best performing track on Google Play Music. Justin Bieber's Sorry and Drake's One Dance (feat. WizKid & Kyla) achieved second and third place respectively. The Chainsmokers' Don't Let Me Down (feat. Daya) made it into fourth, followed by G-Eazy's Me, Myself & I.
The movies chart is headlined by Deadpool. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is placed second, ahead of Zootopia, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In the TV shows category, Game of Thrones is top, The Walking Dead second and The Big Bang Theory third. Mr. Robot and The Flash make up fourth and fifth place.
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn proved to be the most popular book on the Play Store this year. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne came second. Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train: A Novel, Tzu Sun's The Art of War and Jojo Moyes' Me Before You: A Novel formed the rest of the chart.
Google said it's "thrilled" to be announcing the most popular content on Google Play this year. Some of the chart leaders could have been predicted but others may come as a surprise. The company summarised the trends in a blog post:
"The Force and Harry Potter were no match for a different kind of superhero as Deadpool and “Deadpool Kills the Universe” dominated the movie and book charts this year. Game of Thrones kept The Walking Dead away to once again claim the Iron Throne as the most popular TV show of 2016. Twenty One Pilots had no need to feel “Stressed Out” as their single came in as the number one most streamed song of the year, but don’t feel “Sorry” for Justin Bieber who came in at number two. And, of course, Pokemon GO captured the top trending game spot."
All of the titles featured can be found for download and purchase on the Google Play Store, as well as rival marketplaces. While the focus is on the global charts, Google has also published individual localised variants on regional versions of the Play Store. These may contain different content to the global trends and could be worth a look. The complete lists can be found on the front page of the Store.
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