Google recently began rolling out an update to the web version of the Google Play Store that refreshes the landing page for applications with a slight but welcome redesign. Though most of us probably utilize the Play Store app for most of our app hunting, installing, and updating needs the web version can be particularly useful for managing apps across various Android devices remotely. Discover a new app you want to install on both your phone and tablet but don’t have your tablet on hand? Not a problem, the web version of the Play Store can be used to push the app to your tablet. The new UI for app’s landing pages lends itself particularly well to this specific scenario.
You need not look far to notice the changes Google has made. Instead of burying the “Similar” and “More from developer” rows of information beneath the app’s description, screenshots, and reviews these rows have been added to a second column to the top of the landing page that runs alongside the main column found in previous versions (see images below). Though we have all gotten used to having a single column of information to scroll through it does not make use of all the space on a large display, particularly desktop monitors, where we will most likely be making use of the web version of the Play Store. In addition to utilizing space more efficiently Google obviously wants to make apps more discoverable for the sake of developers, which is likely the primary reason behind the redesign.
A thread on Reddit indicates the update has not hit some users. In typical Google fashion they are probably trying out the new website design on some test subjects before rolling out the release to everyone; a prime example being Google’s flip-flopping between the old and new bookmarks menu for Chrome on Android. Some users have already voiced their disapproval, while others welcome the change; you simply cannot please everyone. That being said the dual column set-up could definitely make its way over to the Play Store app for Android tablets, where Google has already demonstrated their willingness to adopt additional columns to make use of a larger screen, such as the dual columns found in the “Settings” menu for tablets on Lollipop. Though we likely won’t be moving away from a single column of information on Android phones (thankfully), it would be nice to see more apps adopt this sort of design when installed on a larger screened Android tablet.