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Four choice apps from annual Google forum

Designers of the Simple Habit meditation app say

Designers of the Simple Habit meditation app say it can reduce stress, make you feel calmer and help you get a better night's sleep. Credit: Simple Habit

Every May for the past 10 years, Google has held its I/O conference, where it brings together developers from throughout the world and showcases new technologies. The conference also hands out awards for the best apps in various categories. Here are four of this year’s winners.

Be My Eyes

(iOS, Android; free)

This innovative app, which enlists sighted people to “lend their eyes” to a visually impaired person, was named Best Accessibility Experience. The app works by linking a network of volunteers with a blind or visually impaired person via a live video and audio connection. The sighted person “sees” through the blind person’s smartphone camera and can assist with real-world questions, problems and tasks.

Old Man’s Journey

(iOS, Android; $4.99)

Blockbuster games from giant companies typically get most of the buzz and sales, but often it’s games from independent developers that provide the best and richest gameplay. This is certainly the case with Old Man’s Journey, a beautifully designed role-playing and puzzle-solving game that immerses the player in the life of one old man. The app was named Standout Indie for its “artistic design, gameplay mechanics and overall polish.”

Episode — Choose Your Story

(iOS, Android; free)

Aimed at teens and young adults (you have to be at least 13 to play), Episode is kind of a digital soap opera, where the player in effect writes the script. The continually updated app has about 70,000 plot lines, and you can connect with a vibrant online community that will participate in your stories. Google named this app Best Community Building Game because it encourages “social interaction and community building.”

Simple Habit Meditation

(iOS, Android; free)

Named Standout Well-Being App, Simple Habit Meditation offers an array of meditation exercises that it says can reduce stress, make you feel calmer, and get a better night’s sleep. The free version has about 50 free sessions. You can add more than 1,000 via in-app purchases. Google says that app empowers “people to live the best version of their lives.”

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