Over the last several months, most of the changes to the Play Store have been on the smaller side, usually part of A/B tests to determine if individual tweaks to the interface would work better than others. An update began rolling out to users yesterday, bringing the current version up to 7.4. No significant changes seem to be turning up yet, but there are bits and pieces that hint at future plans. In this teardown, we'll be looking at a new version of the My Apps screen, statistics about reviews over recent history, remote authorization for family purchases, and even a strange requirement to install the Play Games app before taking some actions. Read More
The Play Store team is killing us. Over the past couple of months, we've seen so many server-side tests for interface changes that we've lost track of them all, and which ones are official and which ones are still not available to everyone. Just today we discussed a significant improvement that could have apps and games show up separately on the Store, and now we're back with another change.
The in-app purchase dialog, the one that pops-up whenever you tap on a paid item inside an app or game, might be getting an overhaul soon. Instead of the old pop-up window showing up in the middle of the screen, this new IAP menu covers the bottom of the display and uses the Play Store's new shade of green along with a big Buy button akin to the new wide buttons in app listings on the Store. Read More
I have never understood why apps and games are grouped together on the Play Store. They're both software, but beyond that, there's really nothing there in common. Bundling them together also creates a lot of issues: top grossing or trending charts are a jumbled mix of apps and games, and games have had to use sub-categories to organize everything. Separating the two into their own main sections just makes sense.
And it looks like Google is finally, freaking finally, toying with the idea as well. One of our readers tipped us with this new layout that gives apps and games their own distinct upper-level sections, next to Entertainment (which also shows up as Music, Movies, Books for some users). Read More
Google first revealed that Pixel pre-orderers would receive Daydream Views free of charge at last month's Pixel unveiling, and now, there's finally some movement; promo codes for the VR headsets are being sent out via email to customers who pre-ordered via the Google Store. Read More
The Play Store, like many other Google apps, is no stranger to server-side UI updates; however, it's pretty rare for Google to be testing multiple changes at once. Currently, Google is not only testing a renamed Entertainment section, but also a different look for the carousel, the removal of the search bar, and a new Google Play Store banner. Read More
Less than a week after we reported that Play Store reviews no longer require a Google+ account, it seems that Google has begun testing another change in the same arena - Top Features, a new element that aims to make determining what functionality an app has easier. In addition, the reviewing process has been tweaked. As of now, these changes do not appear to be rolling out to all devices; while I have the feature on my Nexus 6, it's nowhere to be seen on my HTC 10 that is running the same version of the Play Store.
Top Features' scrollable bar
Top Features is situated above Review Highlights and contains user feedback about certain abilities of the reviewed app. Read More
It seems that two features of the Google Play Store app, the "People" area and the "+1" option on app listings, are disappearing. At this time, I've personally checked five of my devices, and only one which hadn't been powered on in months still had them.
There is a chance this is a bug or some kind of unforeseen consequence of Google making another change to the Play Store, but it seems much more likely that the removal of these features is completely intentional. Google+ doesn't get much love these days, and Google has dramatically reduced the prominence of it in its various other products, rebranded the "Sign in with Google+" button as just Google, and started to pivot the platform as a whole into more of a meeting place for interest-driven communities rather than a "social network." In light of that, killing off the more social-network-y features of the platform in connected products is only logical. Read More
There's a new version of the Google Play Store rolling out to users right now, but it doesn't appear to be brimming with any big, bold new features. However, there are some interesting bits and pieces floating around inside of the APK that point to some of the things we can look forward to in the future. A teardown of v6.9 points to a built-in app streaming interface and a custom purchasing experience for Cardboard. There are also quite a few odd little tweaks to various other things. We're still looking for more changes, so hit the download link below and take a look around for yourself. Read More
We may all lament the state of app discoverability in the Play Store at times (it still sucks you can't do advanced searching), but at least Google is trying to improve the experience. Today it's added eight new categories and renamed two others, meaning apps will be better sorted into the relevant category, which will hopefully result in users being able to find what they're looking for quicker and easier. Read More
When it comes to mobile data, where customers almost always have a limited pool of access to work with, less is more. That's the principle behind the "delta" updates to apps that Google introduced way back in 2012, which in most cases allows the Play Store to download only the incrementally updated parts of an app rather than the entire APK. Now a new tweak to the delta update algorithm has made the updates themselves even smaller. Read More