What You Need to Know about Google Play 4.0

Google Play TabletTwo weeks ago, Google released a brand new design upgrade for its content and media store, Google Play 4.0.  We work closely with Android developers at Apptopia, so we wanted to give you a heads up of what to expect when you take a look at the new store.  Here’s what they changed and how the changes will affect Android app developers.

Google Play 4.0: Simplicity and Functionality

The new Google Play user interface has a minimal look that resembles the Google Now UI.  In typical Google style, they balance simplicity and functionality.  “The new design focuses on bigger images that jump off the page,” according to a blog post by Michal Siliski, group project for Google Play.  The new design moved away from the dark color scheme of Google Play 3.0, in favor of a clean, aesthetically pleasing white backdrop.  In addition, Google Play 4.0 allows users to download apps from the search page.  Within the new search page, there are action overflow mini-menus in some of the app cards.  So, if you want to install an app, rent a movie, buy a book, or add something to a wish list, you can do so without leaving the search page, or entering the specific app listing.

What does this mean for developers?  More than ever, an attractive app listing needs well-made graphics.  It is all the more important to create eye-catching icons and graphics that hold consumer’s attention and help your app distinguish iteself (maybe invest in a designer?).  Because users can quickly scroll through apps and downloads are only a click away, it is particularly necessary for your app to stand out from the pack.

Redesigned Search and Discovery

Finding the perfect app among the hundreds of thousands on Google Play 4.0 can be a challenge, especially if you have exact features and functions in mind.  To help out, Google Play has implemented a smart search feature, and improved their recommendations.  Similar content is now grouped into tons of new categories, and the recommendations continually load, creating an infinite scroll for easy browsing.  As users browse, Google Play’s feed will populate and give recommendations for other content they might like as well.

Within each category of content, larger Recommendation tiles will appear, recommending content based on apps you have already installed, as well as apps your friends have installed.  In an official blog post, Google said that the goal of Google Play 4.0 is to have a design that “helps you find great entertainment, fast.”  That’s exactly what it does.

Moving beyond Google Play 3.0, the new redesign recommends multiple types of content.  If a user is searching for an app, they will also be recommended similarly themed books, movies, music and magazines.

What does this mean for developers?  Increased competition.  While individual app listings will offer better quality graphics and design to draw users in, developers will not only be competing with similar apps, but with other media types as well.  At the same time, it means increased visibility for your apps.  For example, if someone was searching for a travel book, your travel app may appear in his or her recommendations.  A user could find you without even knowing they were looking.

Better Apps

Before they confirmed the Google Play upgrade, Google began pulling 60,000+ apps from the store.  We can only assume these were very low quality apps with little user engagement. With an open platform, Google opened the door for malware. It’s likely that this was an attempt by Google to clean up the store.  In addition, the redesign enables auto-updates for all apps by default.

What does this mean for developers? Google Play 4.0 store pollution will be filtered out. If you make great apps, then great for you! Your app will no longer get lost in a sea of sub-par software.  That said, if you make low-quality apps, this should be a reality check.

Google Plus 4.0 is a user-oriented redesign, that developers need to be aware of to keep up downloads and make sure their apps are reaching the required audience.  For more information on optimizing your App Store presence, take a look at 5 Reasons Why Your App Needs an Online Presenceor for an iOS perspective, take a look at Get Your App Featured and Drive More Downloads.  Apptopia has tons of great Android apps for sale in our Listings page.  Take a look and become an App Owner today!