Google Play Gets an Upgrade – And What it Means for Android Appsters

Last week, Google Play got a brand spankin' new design. Here's what they did -- and what it means for Android app developers.

Last week, Google Play got a brand spankin’ new design. Here’s what they did — and what it means for Android app developers.

Better Design

Google Play has a spiffy new look that resembles Google’s balance between simplicity and functionality. “The new design focuses on bigger images that jump off the page,” according to Michael Siliski, group product manager for Google Play. What you’ll get is a simple design that’s a lot cleaner, making their app store a lot more user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing.

What this means for you: Since this redesign loves images, it’s more important than ever to create eye-popping icons and graphics to catch people’s attention and crush the competition. This means investing in skilled designers who know the ins and outs of what grabs people and how your app’s images stack up against others’. They’ll also need to be familiar with the techinical aspects and requirements set forth by Google Play’s new design. Ugly, fuzzy icons, begone!

Better Search

It’s always a challenge foraging for the exact app with all the features and functions you need, but Google Play has upped the ante by implementing smart search, which groups similar content for easier discovery. As users browse, Google Play’s feed will populate and give recommendations on other content they might like as well.

What this means for you: Google Play’s goal is to have a new design that “helps you find great entertainment, fast,” said Siliski. Obviously, now the focus is more than just one type of entertainment, which may or may not be bad news for you. This means that even though a user is searching for an app, they’ll also be recommended similarly themed books, movies, music, and magazines. Not only will you be competing with similar apps, but with other types of media as well. (I personally suffer from recommendation overload, so I automatically block that s… out). The bright side is that this new feature may get you more visibility without you even having to do anything – if someone were to search for a book on, say, gardening, your gardening app may pop up on their recommendations feed. They’ll find you without even knowing they were looking.

Better Apps

Google Play’s overhaul actually began before they confirmed the news. Back in February, they pulled 60,000 apps from their app store, which one can only assume were craptastic apps that people wish they never touched.  Good riddance! Also, with the new redesign Google will enable auto-update for all apps by default.

What this means for you: The era of app store pollution is hopefully nearing its much-needed end. If you’re making great apps (and you are, right?) you should rejoice! If you make low-quality apps, well, you better get your act together – Google will. find. you.

Google Play has also “simplified purchasing so you can breeze through checkout and get to enjoying your movie rental or other content.” This redesign will be available for devices running Android Froyo (2.2).

What other changes would you like to see on Google Play? Personally (and please don’t hate me) I’d like to see a stricter review process for new submissions, such as a more effective system to keep out apps that should never ever see the light of day.

Let us know what you think below.

About Sara Angeles

Sara is a copywriter, blogger, and content strategist for startups and lifestyle brands. She graduated from UC Irvine and has a background in law, finance, and business administration. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter. Her Google+ is lonely. Find out more about her at SaraAngeles.com.