Google Revamps Its Play Store for Android Phones, Tablets

Google has redesigned the Play store app to make it easier to use and to display more content on smartphone and tablet screens.

Google's Play store app for Android smartphones and tablets now has a revamped look featuring larger images that "jump off the page" to help users find the content they are seeking.

The brighter, image-centric look for the new Play Store app was announced in an April 9 post by Michael Siliski, the group product manager for Google Play, on the Android Official Blog.

"Whether you're in the mood to listen to Justin Timberlake's new album, read Harlan Coben's latest bestseller or discover a new game to play, you want the experience of finding and making your purchase to be quick and easy," wrote Siliski. "Today we've started rolling out a redesigned Google Play store on Android phones and tablets that is simple, clean and—most importantly—helps you find great entertainment, fast."

The new app, which is now rolling out automatic updates to users, is available for devices running on Android 2.2 or above. The app rollout will continue around the world over the next several weeks.

"The new design focuses on bigger images that jump off the page," wrote Siliski. "Similarly themed content is grouped together so you can hone in on a magazine to read or an app to try. As you move down the page, new recommendations continue to appear so there is always more to see and explore. We've also simplified purchasing so you can breeze through checkout and get to enjoying your movie rental or other content."

The new app also offers some improvements for developers who want to get their apps into the Play store, wrote Purnima Kochikar, the director of business development for games and applications at Google.

"For developers, the new app offers more ways for your app to get noticed, as well as a new, simpler purchase flow," wrote Kochikar. "Collections are front and center on the homepage, helping users discover great content through recommendations and curated lists. Items in collections are now presented as cards, with a larger area for your app's graphics and a larger touch target for users. Overall, the homepage surfaces more apps than before and highlights them more effectively right on the page."

A key benefit for developers in the redesigned app is that "the new [user interface] offers a dramatically simplified, dialog-based purchase flow that lets users buy your products without leaving the context of the app," wrote Kochikar. "Your app remains active and visible behind the purchase dialogs. When the purchase is complete, users return directly to the place they left, without your app having to reconstruct its state."

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.