Google has given its Play store a fresh new look for desktop Web users, bringing in the user interface it introduced back in April for Android users.
The new design, which introduces large icons for apps, music, ebooks, magazines and other content, also provides large clickable links to help visitors find and discover the content they are seeking.
"We've changed a few things," says the message on the Play store home page, after the updates went into effect on July 15.
Users can navigate the new site using a category "menu" on the left side of the screen. There also appears to be more white space on the site, giving it a less cluttered look compared with the former store. That does, however, mean that it likely takes more scrolling and navigating to find your desired content.
Back in April, Google had redesigned the Play store Android app to make it easier to use and to display more content on smartphone and tablet screens. The brighter, image-centric look was released for devices running Android 2.2 or above. That look has now made the transition to the Web for desktop users.
Also in April, Google gave the Play store new capabilities that made it easier for developers to showcase their apps to attract buyers for their products. App developers can now upload screen shots of their apps running on 7-inch and 10-inch tablets so consumers can see what those apps will look like on their similar devices, which Google and the developers hope will spur even more sales of innovative and useful apps in the store.
In March, Google's Play store made some waves when the company removed at least four apps from the store that had allowed users to block advertisements that appear when using their Android devices. Google said that the ad-blocking apps violate Section 4.4 of the store's Developer Distribution Agreement, which prohibits the development or distribution of a product that "interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator."
A huge portion of Google's revenue comes from ad revenues, so the ability of advertisers to get their ads in front of viewers' eyeballs is huge for the company.
Google Play, which was created in March 2012 to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks, has been a huge hit. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and Google e-Bookstore sites.
By September 2012, Google Play had served up more than 25 billion downloads to app- and game-hungry Android users, reaching a significant milestone in only six months.
According to Google, the 1 billion Android app download mark was reached in mid-2010, while the 2 billion app download mark was hit in mid-2011. That number soared to 10 billion by the end of 2011, then to 15 billion in early 2012, before soaring again to 25 million in September.
Google Play hosts more than 675,000 apps and games, up from about 450,000 in March 2012, according to Google.