Android users will soon be able to more easily manage their spending on applications and media through the Google Play Store, with test rollouts of a new 'budget' feature reportedly ongoing and a walkthrough already up on the associated support site.
Steps for setting up a limit will be relatively straightforward. Users will just need to navigate the Google Play Store's menu before choosing "Account" and then moving to the "Purchase History" tab — previously "Order History." A new option will appear called "budget" and users can edit or remove budgets as needed but that won't actually stop users from making purchases.
The budgeting tool works via notifications that let individuals know when they're approaching the user-defined limit. Budgets can only be set to work via the user's local currency — set based on their primary home region.
Rather than working like Family Link and setting limits that can't be bypassed entirely, the feature will work similarly to digital wellbeing tools introduced in Android 9 Pie. It centers on enabling better decisions on the part of end users without being overbearing or removing their freedom to do what they want without thoughtlessly spending hundreds of dollars on in-app purchases and currency.
Pending Play Store updates
Google also has big plans for the aesthetic makeup of the Play Store, albeit further out and only spotted in teardowns so far. Following in the footsteps of other recent updates from the company, that material redesign will center around more intuitive use of white space and a new bottom bar UI with bold-lined hollow icons. In effect, the alteration will free up the top bar while placing the most interacted with stuff within easy reach.
The change isn't only on the surface, although Google won't be highlighting elements in its classic green hue anymore either. To begin with, the music section that's currently available via a quick scroll in the top bar is being moved so that it only appears in the three-line overview menu at the top-right-hand side of the UI.
Google will also be adding in a new permissions filter for applications that are installed so that users can sort through their apps based on whether it has access to the mic, camera, and more. That will make it easier for those who are concerned about their privacy and the security of their apps to see whether those are accessing their smartphone in undesirable ways.
On the roll
Since the app rollout is currently for the purpose of testing and fine-tuning the budgeting feature in Android's default app marketplace, it is going to be limited. Ordinarily, users should expect to see changes land more widely within a short period of time but it isn't immediately clear how long testing has been underway or how wide the rollout it.
Google is said to have confirmed that testing is started but all that's apparent at this point is that there's no real timeline by which expectations should be set. The search giant hasn't given away details with regard to whether limitations are by device or region.