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Google Play Store

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[Update: Android Too, And Content Descriptors] Google Play Store Listings Start Showing The New Content Ratings And Interactive Elements On The Web

Back in March, Google announced a few changes to its Play Store listings — a content rating system and a manual approval process for apps. The latter had been in effect for a while, but the former is now showing up on the web version of the Play Store.

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[I/O 2015] Google Introduces Family Star, A New Set Of Kid-Friendly Filters And Parental Tools For The Play Store

The Play Store has a crap-ton of content, much of which you might not want your kids to access. Google is aware of this, and at I/O 2015 the company has announced a new set of tools specifically designed to help parents find age-appropriate content, plus a few extras to help kids engage with the content itself. It's all being introduced to the Play Store under the "Family Star" label and logo.

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The Google Store Now Sells Skrillex-Branded Cases With Matching Live Wallpapers For The Nexus 5 And 6, Galaxy S5 And S6, And Galaxy Note 4

Remember those hints of a "Google Workshop" with user-customizable phone cases with matching wallpapers that Android Police showed off back in April? Those were really cool, huh? Well, this is not that. Unless your name is Skrillex.

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Yes indeed, the well-known dubstep perpetrator Skrillex now has his own collection of phone cases on sale in the Google Store. At the moment the "Live Case" comes in three designs, available for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy Note 4.

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Play Store Category Icons Are Showing Up In Searches For Some Users

Google often makes small improvements to the Play Store without any announcements or fanfare, and this appears to be happening with the latest update to the mobile Play Store search engine. Some (but certainly not all) users are seeing quick links to category pages when they make relevant searches on Android, complete with easy-to-spot icons right in the drop-down field. The icons are showing up both for straight searches and for popular related apps.

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The Play Store search has had integration with categories for a while now, so expect the interface tweak to appear for you sometime in the next few weeks.

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Amazon Reverses Decision: The Original 'Postal' Is Now Available On The Appstore For $1.99, Still MIA From The Google Play Store

Earlier this week we reported on Google's decision to refuse an Android port of the PC shooter Postal in the Google Play Store. Two days later, a representative of developer Running With Scissors told us that Amazon had done the same for the Amazon Appstore, and provided us with the rejection letters from both companies. Google refusing to allow the controversial shooter onto the Play Store is merely inconsistent; as we noted at the time, games with similar levels of violence like Grand Theft Auto III are easily available. But Amazon blocking the sale of the Android app, when the company sells the same game as a PC download, was just downright hypocritical.

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[Update: Amazon Too] Google Refuses To Allow Postal Game In The Play Store For 'Gratuitous Violence' - Apparently They Forgot About GTA, The Walking Dead, And Others

If you're below a certain age or simply not all that familiar with the history of video games, perhaps you haven't heard about Postal. Originally released for the PC in 1997, Postal was an isometric top-down shooter - think Contra with some better graphics.

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[Deal Alert] US Play Store Users Can Get The Transformers Movie For Free Today, Other Movies Free In Other Countries

From time to time Google offers free music and movies via the Play Store. Today is one of those times, because it's the third anniversary of the Play Store launch (and, incidentally, the death of the former Android Market). Customers in the US can get a free Coldplay album, and now they can also grab an HD copy of the Transformers movie for free!

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No, not the real Transformers movie, the animated one from 1986. Google is giving away 2007 live-action movie, directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf. You know, the one that's held up as one of the worst examples of mindless Hollywood summer blockbusters, its awfulness surpassed only by its even more mindless sequels.

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Achievements, Leaderboards, And Multiplayer Show Up More Prominently In Search Results And Lists On The Android Play Store

An interesting design change has been spotted on the Android client side of the Google Play Store. Usually, when you're scrolling through a list of apps and games, whether it's a search result or the Store's own top lists, you see the app's icon, name, developer, star rating, price, and the quick options button. However, the star rating seems to be getting bounced back to second-class citizen state when more appealing features are available, like Achievements, Leaderboards, and Multiplayer.

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Left: new. Right: old (screenshot courtesy of ryanspoon)

Only one option of the game is deemed worthy of the spotlight, with a hierarchy system determining which one that is.

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Google Helpouts Is Shutting Down In April 2015, Android App Already Removed From The Play Store

Google introduced the Helpouts service, a special version of live video Hangouts specifically intended for instruction and guides, back in November of 2013. The Android app followed shortly thereafter, allowing users to access paid and screened experts for a variety of skilled or specialized tutorials. Apparently it hasn't been as popular as Google had hoped: the company has informed users that the service will be shutting down on April 20th.

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Google posted the following explanation on its support site and issued the same statement to users via email:

We have some sad news to share: Helpouts will be shutting down on April 20, 2015.

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Google Offers Live Video Helpouts Sessions For Would-Be Nexus And Chromebook Buyers On The Play Store

If you're a regular Android Police reader, you probably don't need any "sales assistance" when picking out a new phone, tablet, or laptop - pretty much everything you could want to know is just a web search away. But some people appreciate the personal touch, which is why those guys in the blue shirts at Best Buy still have jobs. To help out these sorts of shoppers, Google is offering live video chat assistance for hardware shoppers on the Play Store.

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Image credit: TechCrunch

The new service leverages Google's own Helpouts service (an instruction and assistance portion of video Hangouts) and the infrastructure of the Play Store.

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