Winner: YouTube TV
These days you can get your TV any way you like it – with cable, without cable, through satellite, via the internet on your desktop or laptop, or more commonly it seems like, through streaming services that offer Android Apps that you can install and then simply stream to your living room TV, or wherever the TV is that you watch. One of the best options for this service so far has been YouTube TV, Google's own offering of a streaming TV service that was meant to give consumers another choice to the alternatives and allow them one more way to cut the cord. YouTube TV started small initially and this is why some users had a bit of an issue with it before, but Google has slowly been rolling out the service to more markets and ultimately reaching more potential subscribers.
You might be thinking, "what's so good about YouTube TV that other services don't offer?" Well, for one the cost is generally better for what you're getting compared to other services. You could do Hulu with the Live TV option but that will run you around $40, and services from PlayStation Vue will cost more while services from options like Sling TV will be a bit less but you will also be getting less channels to sift through. So for the cost, YouTube TV at $35 a month is some pretty good value. With it you'll be getting access to more than 40 different channels including big network channels like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and more, plus channels like AMC, BBC, SyFy, ESPN and more. There's even a few kids channels if you need to keep the children entertained for a bit. All this would be less impressive if it wasn't so easy to use, but because this is YouTube TV and because it's Google, the app has support for Chromecast so you can of course stream the content to whatever TV or monitor the Chromecast is plugged into. Or stream it right to your TV if it already has the Chromecast technology built into it as some newer TVs do.
Streaming aside, having all of this great content at your fingertips may have never been easier but it could all be for nothing when it comes to the live TV options if you're always missing your shows. Luckily YouTube TV even has a solution for you here as it comes with a Cloud DVR to store all of the shows you want to record. The best part is that there are absolutely no limits on how much you can store, though there is one caveat and that's how long you can store shows for, which is a nine-month period after which the shows are deleted. To top everything off, YouTube gives you a free trial to test everything out so if it's available in your market, and there's a good chance it is thanks to the rapid expansion, you can see if you like if before you buy it. What's more is that if there are multiple people in your household the service allows for up to six different accounts attached to the one subscription, letting each person sign in with a different login and have their own DVR settings and recommendations. It's sort of a one-size fits all option and with all the features it has to offer, it was an easy pick for best app of the year.
Runner Up: Motion Stills
It's impossible to talk about some of the best apps to release in 2017 without talking about Google's Motion Stills application. Once it landed on Android it gave users a way to create cinemagraphs from short video clips, and short means short as each video clip can last up to three seconds before it stops on its own. The good news is that you can basically link multiple clips together so if you want to create movies you can simply link the ones you want to be part of it together so it keeps going until all of them have been played through. If you're a fan of GIF images then no doubt you have thought about creating your own GIFs from time to time. Motion Stills lets you do this by transforming those video clips you take into a GIF image which you can then share around with friends and family or upload it to social media or simply the web in general through sites like Giphy or Imgur. Google has a few photo-based apps on the Play Store but this has surely been on of the most interesting and fun to use, and if you haven't already checked out you should because it's worth giving a look.
Honorable Mention: Files Go
Files Go is Google's new file manager application and like all things Google these days it has elements of machine learning and AI baked right into the app to make it smarter, more efficient, and simpler to use for people. The main purpose of this app is to give you a portal to all the apps and other files/data that's stored on your device, but as mentioned Google has integrated some smart features into it. For instance, the app will give you smart recommendations on files or other things on your device that you can delete to make sure you free up some space and have enough room to store future stuff. This isn't too unlike what you get from the smart recommendations in the Google Photos app from the Assistant tab. Google was also aiming to make Files Go a simple to use application for users too, and it boasts that users will be able to get to the files they want and delete them so there's more room on the device in just a few taps. Naturally since this is a Google app files are capable of being easily backed up to the cloud if you choose you do want to keep them but still want to free up some space.