Alleged Play Store revamp continues Google's drive towards a unified interface
Google's engineers haven't missed a beat after the death of Google Reader. Not only has the company launched the new note-taking Keep service, but a new leak suggests that Google may soon give the Android's Play app store a much-needed facelift.
The current Google Play store design was introduced in 2012, and not much has changed since its debut. Now, the Droid Life blog claims to have gotten its hands on a leaked upcoming version of the Google Play store, which shows a complete user interface overhaul in a series of images and a video.
If the leak is accurate, Google Play 4.0.16 will bring a brand new interface in line with the UI changes seen in Android Jelly Bean. Overall, the look of the leaked Google Play app is cleaner, with a focus on bigger images and italicized text.
Individual pages for apps, movies, magazines and books have bigger images and are displayed in a card-like interface similar to Google Now. The move to a Google Now-esque card-like interface could shine some light into the direction Android OS design is heading as a whole, in fact.
Since the app store and Google Now are two important parts of Android, and they seem headed for a unified look, it’s possible we will see more Google apps approaching this interface in an upcoming major release of the OS—Google+, another cornerstone of Google's vision for the future, has already embraced the card UI. The drive isn't surprising; Google co-founder Larry Page has focused on bringing a cohesive design vision to Google's disparate products since he assumed the CEO role in 2011.
One particular issue that Google did not seem to address with this redesign is app discovery. With more than 700,000 apps in Google Play, there still does not seem to be a practical way to surface relevant apps for users, or filter dubious apps from searches, and there is no apparent new functionality in this regard.
Android isn't the only major platform with lackluster discovery chops. Apple, whose app store is just a plentiful as Google’s, also implemented a card-like interface in the iOS App Store last year but it hasn't implemented any improved app discovery functionality since the launch of Genius, a feature that recommends apps based on your current downloads. The Windows Store's discovery functions are just as paltry.
Google has yet to confirm a new version of the Play store in on the way, so it’s uncertain whether the leak is true or whether the new version will be available to users any time soon. Assuming the leak is accurate, it's likely that Google will wait until its I/O developer conference in mid-May to unveil the new interface.