Play Store

Google Play Store will remove dormant developer accounts, stagnant apps

Google Play Store will remove dormant developer accounts, stagnant apps

Google Play Store is home to many apps. Some might say it's actually home to far too many apps. Android's official app marketplace is better known for the quantity of apps available rather than the quality of those apps, and it might be long-overdue some trimming. It seems that a great culling is finally coming to Google Play Store as Google announces new policies that will clean up developer accounts and apps that have barely been used.

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Google Play Wear OS apps for watches finally easier to find

Google Play Wear OS apps for watches finally easier to find

Google just updated Google Play to make certain wearable-friendly apps easier to find. If you're searching Google Play on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop, you'll now be able to key-in on a few new search terms. Add the terms "watch" or "watch faces" to find apps and watch faces, now even if they do not have said words in their title.

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Google sued by US states over alleged Google Play Store monopoly

Google sued by US states over alleged Google Play Store monopoly

Even while the row between Apple and Epic Games remains unresolved, the other big app store will soon get its time under the legal spotlight. It's really no surprise that Google would eventually be the target of an antitrust lawsuit but the bigger question is if it will be able to stick. As many as 36 states in the US have finally filed a complaint alleging that Google used its position to impose a 30% tax from developers on Google Play Store.

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Android App Bundles are replacing APKs – why it matters [UPDATE]

Android App Bundles are replacing APKs – why it matters [UPDATE]

Google Play Store is constantly evolving to meet the growing needs and demands of Android users and developers. Many of those improvements rely on automated systems powered by AI and machine learning, particularly in screening apps for malware or prohibited content. There are times, however, when changes require developers to make changes in the way they write and distribute their apps. One of the most disruptive changes is coming in August when Google Play Store switches to App Bundles instead of APKs as its standard package format, a change that will affect not only developers but also Android users, hopefully for the better.

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Android 12 will make third-party app stores work more seamlessly

Android 12 will make third-party app stores work more seamlessly

One of Android's biggest strengths as well as one of its perceived weaknesses is its openness, especially in terms of installing apps. While Google pushes its own Play Store and API by offering exclusive features to entice developers and users, it still leaves the door open for third-party app stores and even individual APKs to be installed. That isn't a straightforward process, however, even if you're trying to install from an app store. With Android 12, Google is making that more streamlined so that third-party app stores will behave almost like Google Play Store.

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Google Play Store finally fixes misleading app names and icons

Google Play Store finally fixes misleading app names and icons

Thanks to its more open nature, the Google Play Store has hundreds if not thousands of apps, many of them offering similar functionality or, in the case of clones, even identical assets. In an attempt to stand out from the rest, Android app developers can get pretty creative but not in a good way. After years of letting the status quo stay, Google is finally setting its foot down on what is appropriate to use as app names, titles, and icons as well as screenshots, graphics, and videos used to preview them.

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Google Play Store app install optimization rolls out

Google Play Store app install optimization rolls out

Google has always been banking on AI and machine learning to help improve its process in lieu of manpower. Machine learning, however, always requires more data to learn from, and there is perhaps no better source of millions of pieces of data than the millions of Android users out there. One such example is in optimizing how apps are downloaded and installed, a federated learning feature that Google has now started rolling out to Android users.

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Google Play Store ML detected almost 1 million violators last year

Google Play Store ML detected almost 1 million violators last year

Android boasts of a more open and more welcoming ecosystem compared to iOS and part of that is its less stringent process in screening apps entering the Google Play Store. Creating a sort of chicken and egg situation, it meant that it would be logistically impossible for Google to manually review each and every app submission that comes its way. Since the beginning, the tech giant has relied on AI and machine learning to detect policy violators and now Google is boasting just how successful that technology has been in protecting Android users last year.

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Malicious Google Play Store apps snoop on SMS to make purchases

Malicious Google Play Store apps snoop on SMS to make purchases

Android malware isn't exactly new but you might presume they only come from apps downloaded from some shady sources. Anyone following mobile news, however, will probably be aware of how apps on the Google Play Store may turn out to be carriers for such malicious software, sometimes taking weeks or even months before someone discovers them. Such is the case with another batch of such malware-laden apps on Google's officially sanctioned and recommended app store, ones that misuse existing features to make unauthorized purchases.

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Facebook sends cease-and-desist letters to a pair of popular apps for Android

Facebook sends cease-and-desist letters to a pair of popular apps for Android

When it comes to using Facebook on Android devices, lots of people out there don't use the Facebook app. For many they prefer the interface offered by so-called wrapper apps such as Swipe and Simple Social. However, both of those apps recently disappeared from the Play Store.

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Google Play Store ditches hamburger menu, moves things around

Google Play Store ditches hamburger menu, moves things around

Out of all of Google's major Android apps, the Play Store is the one that perhaps sees the most number of redesigns, most of them coming without warning. Long before even the likes of Gmail and Calendar embraced it, the premier Android app marketplace began toting Material Design elements and principles, sometimes not to users' satisfaction. Google Play Store is undergoing yet another redesign, perhaps in the name of cleanliness and visual simplicity. Unfortunately, it could actually end up being more cumbersome to use with everything hidden behind groups and menus.

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Google Play opens the door to gambling apps in more countries

Google Play opens the door to gambling apps in more countries

If lawmakers and regulators were already up in arms about loot boxes, especially in mobile games, they might have a storm coming once real gambling and betting apps start arriving on Google Play Store. Such apps that involve the risk of losing large sums of money have always been a thorny subject, which is why they were limited to an extremely low number of markets. Starting March, however, that will no longer the case as Google Play adds 15 more countries to that list.

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