The Google Play Store was updated with support for Notification Channels earlier this week, with the Mountain View, California-based tech giant still being in the process of distributing the latest version of its Android app marketplace to all users. The new functionality is part of the 8.1 build that can be downloaded by following the banner below if Google still didn't push out the update in your territory. The Google Play Store version 8.1 doesn't seem to debut any other noticeable changes on the user-facing side of things, though the app does come with an expected variety of unspecified bug fixes and performance enhancements.
Notification Channels are one of many significant additions that Android O is set to introduce, allowing users to manage their notifications in a granular manner, specifically deciding which types of prompts they want to receive instead of simply (de)prioritizing all notifications from individual apps or using binary system-wide settings to enable or disable notifications. All apps need to be optimized for the feature in order to take advantage of it, and Google has recently been in the process of doing so with its own mobile software portfolio, with the Play Store being its latest Android service to receive Notification Channels support. This particular implementation breaks down all prompts pushed by the Play Store into five categories - High Priority, App Updates Available, Updated Apps, Security and Maintenance, and Account Alerts. The names of the channels are relatively self-explanatory, and each one can have its own notification settings following the installation of the Play Store version 8.1 on a compatible Android device running any Developer Preview of Android O.
The new addition is meant to enable the existing Notifications section of the Play Store's own Settings by providing users with even more control over the type of the prompts they're receiving from the marketplace and the manner in which they are displayed by the system. Still, the Auto-Updates and Updates settings in the Play Store's Notifications options are now also covered by Notification Channels and it's currently unclear whether Google meant to create this redundancy. Android O is expected to start hitting the stable channel by the end of the month.