Google’s dedicated Android app market, the Play Store, has a significant redesign on the way that will change how users navigate and access apps and media, based on a recent 9to5Google teardown performed on the apps APK.
The most immediate difference is that Google has removed the section headings from the top panel, placing them behind material-based icons on a new bottom row instead. That means that the top bar now only showcases the usual selectable headings for such as “Top Charts” or dedicated personalized lists of apps instead of Home, Games, and other categories. When users change between those sections of the Play Store, those links are changed to suit the category.
The icons themselves match the typical theme found in other recently updated Google apps such as Google Drive. They have a transparent background and a line-centric aesthetic based on images such as a house, game controller, etc to match the categories’ offerings.
Whitespace management in the context of apps that are surfaced for the user’s consideration within each of those sections appears to be optimized more cleanly too, making things easier to read. Clutter is further reduced by the removal of the “more” option at the end of the scrollable app carousels in the Play Store. Rather than offering up another word for users to read and click on, that’s been replaced by a right-facing arrow icon.
Yet another shift away from color theming but no dark mode yet
Another obvious change in direction, albeit an unsurprising one considering the company’s aforementioned changes in other apps, is that the usual green and colored adornments on pages have been changed to white. There isn’t any guarantee Google will stick with that design when the alterations ultimately roll out but it would be more well-suited to another recent push from the company to begin implementing dark mode system-wide.
Theming obviously isn’t finished, with some pages still not showing the newly added bottom bar UI.
There’s no dark mode option present either, possibly indicating that the app will respect and follow system-level ‘dark’ or ‘night’ mode preferences similar to current expectations from the changes to Drive — if and when Google decides to add a darker theme.
The other colors that were previously seen in the movies, games, and books UI — red, green, and blue, respectively — now appear in the icons in the bottom bar. So, for movies, the empty space between lines is shifted to red when that tab is selected and the change applies to other icons when their respective tabs are chosen.
Within a given app listing, the UI remains mostly unchanged with the exception of a new full-width install button. Google’s own Google Sans font is in use across more of the UI too. The revisions visible to the user also include subtle changes to how the system informs them about Google’s protective measures while an app is being installed. Storage and Permissions sections have been added to sorting mechanisms in the “My Apps” portion of the Play Store.
The final theme change comes in the form of icons, which are being shifted to match up with Google’s push to ensure a unified front in aesthetics. Primarily, that means that icons not already adhering to a rounded square iconography are scaled down and placed inside of a white rounded square. Icons that are already holding to that shape aren’t affected by the change.
Where’s the music?
Although most of the menus and the actionable interface remains mostly the same, Google has removed the “Music” category, opting not to include an icon for the section in the bottom bar at all. That’s presumably to remove the requirement that users scroll to find the category.
Instead of navigating a new icon for Music, users will now need to open up the three-dash menu at the left-hand side of the interface. An option to “Browse music” can now be found there in its own separate section within the menu. That may indicate that Google is no longer going to sell music alongside apps and games in the store, instead relying on its Google Play Music app and redirecting users there, although it remains to be seen whether that’s the case.
Less likely, the change could also point toward the eventual death of Google Play Music in favor of YouTube music — a change that’s long been expected as part of a push to bring the search giant’s media offerings under a single umbrella.