SAN FRANCISCO-Google's Android Market, which recently passed the 200,000-application milestone, received a handful of features geared toward improving the user experience.
The Android Market isn't terrible, but it's certainly been lacking some of the glossy polish that mobile app users have come to associate from consuming apps through Apple's App Store, which has over 300,000 apps.
Google has also been efforting to improve app payment coverage and adding things like app usage analytics and in-application and carrier billing. All of these little things add up to a bigger, better user experience, the logic goes.
To that end, Android Market officials at Google I/O here May 11 said they refreshed its top app charts to target specific countries. The Android steward, which has seen over 300 devices built on the open-source platform, also added top new free, top new paid and top grossing lists on the Android Market home page.
Google added an "editor's choice" section to the market, which it said are "some of the very best apps available for Android, as chosen by the Android Market staff," according to Android Market Product Manager Fernando Delgado.
The company also smartened up by celebrating top developers for the Android Market who have chipped in the most popular apps. Initially, the 150 top Android app developers will get a special icon where their name is shown on the Android Market Website.
There is a new trending apps section on the Android Market homepage, which signal apps that are quickly growing in daily installs.
Finally, Google is tightening up its related apps section on the left of the app page in the Market. Users will now see apps frequently browsed by people who viewed this app, and apps that people are inclined to install alongside this app.
This is a good way to expose users to new, yet similar apps that they might enjoy using. Google said the new usability features on the Android Market Webstore will be appear soon in the Android Market app on phones and tablets.
The Android Market tweaks come at a heady time for Google, which just unveiled at Google I/O that the Android Market has topped 4.5 billion downloads.
Moreover, Google also expanded the number of countries where Android customers can buy apps via the Android Market to 131, up from just 32 to date.