Google Play Store - Featured Articles

Google Play Movies & TV

Google Play Movies & TV picks up account switcher, new navigation drawer and improved timeline scrubbing

Design falls in line with other recent Google apps while adding a few new features Wednesdays are turning in to "Google app update" days, and the second one of today (behind Keep) is Google Play Movies & TV. The update is making the same interface changes here as we have seen on other recent...
Google Play Activity page

See all of your ratings and +1s in Google Play on the web

A new menu item is showing up for some users in the Play Store on the web, giving you a look at all of your +1 and comment activity in the store. This reflects a change that was added to the Play Store on Android back in December, letting you have a broad look at all of your Play Store engagement...
Nexus 5 camera

Android camera app reportedly getting portrait and effects improvements through Play Store

To be updated independently of Android, gaining custom filter support The Android camera app will soon be split off into the Google Play Store and is looking to get an update with a refreshed UI and new effects. Manufacturers have put a lot of effort into expanding the capabilities of their...

Google Play Store - Top Articles

Nexus 5 camera

Android camera app reportedly getting portrait and effects improvements through Play Store

To be updated independently of Android, gaining custom filter support The Android camera app will soon be split off into the Google Play Store and is looking to get an update with a refreshed UI and new effects. Manufacturers have put a lot of effort into expanding the capabilities of their...
Play Store Mother's day sale

Get a head start on Mother's Day shopping with Play Store sale

Even though it's not for another month, Google is holding a Mother's Day sale on the Google Play Store, offering major discounts on certain books, as well as magazine subscriptions. Books are available for 50% off, including I Remember Nothing, Lean In, and The Goldfinch. Customers can also...
Google Play

UK closes tax loophole on digital downloads, Google Play prices likely to increase

New rules see standard VAT of 20% to be paid from January 1 2015 Buried within the recent Budget, it seems that UK Chancellor, George Osborne, has announced that digital content downloads will pay tax based on the country they are sold in. In other words all content from Google Play, Amazon,...
Google fixes Heartbleed

Google updates back-end in light of Heartbleed vulnerability

If you've been online at some point in the last 36 hours, chances are you've heard of 'Heartbleed', a flaw in OpenSSL that has exposed data to theft on approximately 2/3 of servers in use around the globe over the past two years. It's not known how bad the damage may be, but the revelation of the...
Android Central

Hangouts 2.0 now rolling out with SMS support

New version lets you use Google's IM app to send and receive texts As promised at last week's Google+ event, the new version of Hangouts capable of sending and receiving text messages is now rolling out through Google Play. The update to brings things up to speed with the version of Hangouts on...
Sense 6 apps

HTC Sense 6 apps hit Google Play ahead of new HTC One launch

BlinkFeed, HTC Service Pack and SenseTV listed on Google Play, complete with screenshots We're just hours away from the expected arrival of the new HTC One (M8), and we're starting to see signs of the final preparations being made for the phone's launch. HTC has this morning released three new...
Google Play Store 4.6.16

Google Play Store 4.6.16 now rolling out with new password options, batch app installing

A few interface and wording changes make the app a little more friendly A new version of the Google Play Store is rolling out to a wide number of people this week, bringing with it a few new options in the settings and some visual tweaks that make the whole app run a bit smoother. Nothing will...
Yeezus

Kanye West's 'Yeezus' leads Google's holiday deals

As is prone to happen this time of year, Google's got a bunch of holiday deals in order on Google Play. The savings spans across just about every category, from Kanye West's "Yeezus" album free for a limited time. The Star Wars: Tiny Death Star game has an exclusive  Google Play bundle available,...
Galaxy Note 3

Samsung offering U.S. Galaxy Note 3 owners $50 Google Play credit

If you've got a U.S. Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung's running a promotion until Jan. 6 that'll allow you to claim $50 of free Google Play credit. Simply hit up the promotion site, enter your details — including phone number, address, email and IMEI — and you'll be able to score $50 credit to use...
Google Play Movies

Google Play Movies comes to dozens of new countries, Play Music expands to 4 more

63 countries now have Google Play Movies, with 25 now having Play Music as well Well it turns out Google has been busy signing deals to expand Google Play Movies, as the content choice has just expanded to 38 new countries around the world today. And the new countries truly are around the entire...

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Super Turtleman asks in the Android forums,

My kids are getting to the age where they're about to start having Android devices. I'd like to create a master account I can have on my phone (separate from my current google account) that I can use to download apps onto my kid's devices. Is there a simple way to do this? Can I have two different google accounts on one device and have them not interfere with each other?

Lucky kids! We think it's great that you're exposing your children to Android, and even better that you're exploring options to provide them with awesome games and apps. The good news is, what you want to do is easy!

Open Google Play on your device, and tap the action bar (or menu button, as the case may be), and select "Accounts" from the list. A new window will open, listing the current active Google accounts in use on your phone or tablet. If the account you want to use is not listed, tap the "Add account" button and follow the prompts to add a new or existing Google account. Make sure this account is selected when purchasing an app, and the app will be available on any Android device using the account in question.

Add this account to your child's Android devices, select in in Google Play, then download and install all the apps you have purchased. It's worth noting that you can tell the Google Play app that you only want to purchase apps or media, or make in-app purchases, by using a PIN. This keeps the kids from being able to charge up your account, and allows you to monitor applications being bought.

It's not quite device profiles, but it's a good way to do what you're looking for. 

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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International Voice Search users rejoice! Google's ever-evolving search service has been updated to add another 13 languages, bringing the total to an incredible 42 languages supported. The list of new languages should make a lot of European Android users happy. It includes Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, European Portuguese, Finnish, Glacian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak and Swedish.

With this update, Google claims another 100 million people will be able to use the service in their native tongue. Voice Search can only get more accurate over time with additional users, as Google uses the search queries to improve the service. This is simply a cloud-side update, which means that no additional action should be required to start using the new languages -- outside of possibly changing the device's default language.

Source: Official Google Blog

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Bank of America has finally updated its Android app to include a couple features that iOS users, as well as Android users with other banks (all the way back in late 2010, we might add), have enjoyed for a while now. The app has generally had a good and usable UI, but has lacked both mobile check deposits and notifications. We're happy to report that both of these features are now available and ready for download in the form of an update from the Play Store. Unfortunately, the tablet version of the app has yet to be updated with the same features.

Additional functionality is nice, but what we would really like to see is Bank of America choosing to follow Android style guidelines and remove the legacy menu button from the app. There's really no reason, almost a year after the release of Android 4.0, for any developer -- let alone one of this size -- to keep coding their app without an action bar and overflow settings button.

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You're probably seeing a bit of news that the delta updates for Play store applications that Google talked about at I/O 2012 have went live today. Coders, web developers, and Android geeks love this sort of thing, but I'll imagine quite a few of you are asking yourself what these new delta updates mean for me, and do I need to do anything or worry about it? Let's try to answer that.

A delta update is a broad term that means only changes to a package will be downloaded and the changes will be merged into the existing files inside the package. In this case, the package is the apk file that's installed on your phone. To try and keep things simple as possible, let's use an imaginary app called Cool Widget. If you already have Cool Widget installed on your phone or tablet, and the developer makes a change that gives it a new background, you won't have to download the whole thing. Google will do a version check, then send out a patch that merges changes the developer made with the files you already have. Besides the obvious -- the new background image itself -- there may be changes to some of the code, or in the manifest file, so you'll get a delta update that copies the new image to the apk file, erases the old, and merges those code changes in. It's new for applications in Google Play, but it's how Google has been sending out OTA updates for Nexus devices (and a few others) for a while now. In the end, it means less data is used and sent.

For users (that's you and me!) it's not a big deal. Sure, we'll save a little bit of bandwidth by only downloading parts of a big file, but the really big downloads (think game assets) are usually hosted elsewhere and installed after the app is loaded the first time. Every byte saved counts though, especially if you don't have unlimited data. Just don't go thinking this will make a difference in your monthly allotment -- keep using Wifi to download big stuff if you need to monitor your usage. The real benefit is to Google, who serves millions of files through Google Play every day. Small amount add up quickly when you're talking millions, and less data being sent means less bandwidth and server time used. 

As for what we need to do, that one's easy -- nothing. This was a server side change. Keep on installing and using apps from Google Play as you always have, and update them just like you're used to doing. The best changes are transparent to the users, and this is one of those cases. Nothing about the way you install or update your apps has changed. Google does a lot of things that confuse (and infuriate) us, but this time they did it right. In fact, if it weren't for all the eyes of some smart people on the Internet, we wouldn't even know it was changed. 

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We've already seen the Google Play Store app getting prepped for gift cards -- and now we've scored the cards themselves. (Or, at least, a look at the outer wrapping.) We've been slipped a few pics of $10 and $25 gift cards, clearly branded for Google Play, with "Music Movies Books Apps & More" listed at the bottom.

It'll be interesting to see how they get positioned at retail alongside the likes of iTunes and Barnes & Noble and lord knows how many other gift cards, but this much is certain -- that triangular logo we were never too sure about should stand out pretty well.

Also unknown is where, exactly, the cards will be available. On a micro level, that means individual stores. Best Buy? Target? Wallmart? We'll see. But nearly as important is the global level. Developers hate seeing U.S.-only launches and, frankly, we're not fond of them either. (Not like we'll turn it down, but we'd prefer everyone has a chance to play. Google likely would agree.)

So, yeah. Gift cards are coming, and it looks like they're coming sooner rather than later.

We've got a couple more pics after the break for good measure.

Thanks, anon!

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Gift cards for the Google Play Store have been a much-requested feature for the service, and now it seems Google may be preparing to launch them. The Play Store APK (application file) was recently updated to version 3.8.15.

After finding that the new version was a few kilobytes heavier, the guys at Android Police decided to decode the APK and start digging around, and they uncovered a wealth of evidence in support of the existence of Play gift cards.

The new APK apparently intercepts links to the URL play.google.com/redeem (currently inactive). There are also code references to activities in the app associated with redeeming gift codes, as well as new art assets for the pages where they’re to be used. And a couple of enterprising hackers even managed to tinker around and open up the hidden gift code redemption pages, as evidenced by the shots above.

So we think it’s pretty much guaranteed that Google will be introducing this feature at some point in the future, and given that most of the code to enable this is now on consumers’ devices, we hope it’ll be rolled out sooner rather than later.

Source: Android Police

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The newly redesigned Google+ app for Android just keeps getting better. This most recent update brings improvements to hangouts, allowing younger users to initiate them and all users to watch hangouts on air. Most notable when you first open the newly update app, you will see a grey bar at the top of the window with sharing options. This is a welcome addition that saves you that one extra tap when you want to share a post.

In addition, the new version has floating timestamps in photo view. For those of you getting frustrated with spam in the new "events" feature, the ability to report abuse straight from the app has been added as well. We've got a couple screenshots of the new UI after the break, and you can follow the Play Store link above to grab the update for yourself.

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The folks at Dropbox are always letting users in on the latest app betas, and they've just dropped a new one on us with a few basic but welcome features.

  • Thumbnails for video files
  • Better video playback for both ICS and Jelly Bean
  • UI improvements on the Nexus 7
  • Ability to open Dropbox files directly in other apps
  • Various bug fixes

Probably the most important item of the list is updated Nexus 7 support, which shows that the developers over at Dropbox see the importance in properly supporting the latest Google platform release. Take a look after the break for a few screenshots of the latest beta update, and be sure to follow the source link below if you're interested in getting in on the pre-release action.

Source: Dropbox Forums

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For the first time since the launch of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the official Gmail app for Android has been updated. The new version is available right now through the Google Play Store, so head to the "My Apps" tab to get yourself up-to-date.

There's not too much in the way of radical changes in this latest Gmail app update -- the changelog reveals that Google's rolling our improved 7-inch tablet support on Android 4.0 and above, and a new "labels" API for third-party apps on Android 2.2 and above. The former obviously refers to the Nexus 7, which is now starting to make its way out to consumers around the world. Despite the news of 7-inch tablet improvements, we haven't been able to track down exactly what Google's changed on our Nexus 7. The UI is much the same as it was before, so we're likely looking at subtle alterations for 7-inch tablet owners. The new labels API is also a bit of a mystery. It's possible this is a replacement for functionality removed around a year ago which disabled third-party Gmail widgets, though this too is mere speculation.

Users on all versions of Android also get a healthy helping of bug fixes and performance improvements, so that's reason enough to upgrade even if you're not a Nexus 7 owner or an application developer.

If you've noticed any dramatic changes in this new version of Gmail, hit the comments and let us know what you've found.

Download: Gmail on Google Play

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This is big, folks. Google Wallet finally has been opened up to more payment methods. Mainly, it now works with any credit card and lists credit cards previously tied to your Google account. It's taking a new approach to mobile payments, moving everything into the cloud and off your device. That means a couple things. For one, you'll still need a PIN to use Google Wallet, and Google (and us as well) recommends you have a lock on the entire phone. But should things go awry, you can lock and remotely disable Google wallet on a lost phone. As Google points out, that's not something you can do with your leather wallet.

After that, alls you need is a Google Wallet-compatible device (here's the list of 'em), and you're off and running. No more exclusives. No more errors.  So head to the Play Store and smash that update button, and be sure to let us know in the comments how it goes adding cards to the app.

Source: Google Commerce Blog

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Google has sent out an e-mail about updates to their Google Play developer policies, and it's clear that they are trying to reign in some questionable behavior that goes on in our beloved app store. There's some standard stuff to go along with new features, like guidelines and cancelation policies for the new subscription billing service, but the bulk of the new changes are user facing and designed to make our experience better all around. Here's a quick bullet point of the major changes:

  • Restricting the use of names or icons confusingly similar to existing system apps in order to reduce user confusion
  • Providing more detail on the kinds of dangerous products that are not allowed on Google Play. For example, apps that disclose personal information without authorization are not allowed.
  • Giving more examples of practices that violate the spam policy.
  • Adding a new section that addresses ad behavior in apps. 

The first couple of points are easy enough to understand, and Google is stepping in to keep folks from being tricked by unscrupulous developers. With over 600,000 applications in Google Play, there are bound to be a few who just want your eyeballs on ads and will do anything to make that happen. A lot of these apps also will try to work around the rules and just want your address book or web history. It stinks, but just like the rest of the world some folks take the low road to make a buck. With these new policies in place, Google can show them the door if they get crafty and don't play fair.

The third point is downright awesome. Have a look at the complete policy here, and see how Google makes it plain about what is and isn't allowed in their store, and just what they consider as spam. This is how we like to see things explained -- in clear, concise language with no weaseling around. In their house, you play by their rules, and now you know them.

Finally, they are getting a grip on ad SDKs and networks that practice in shady behavior. With words like deceiving consumers and disruptive behavior, Google has lain the smack down and let these companies -- and the developers who use them -- know that the days of the wild west are numbered. A clear set of rules on how ads can behave has been a long time coming.

Google is still wide open. With the tick of a checkbox users are free to install any application they please, and we wouldn't want it any other way. We also want a consistent, and dare we say better, experience from Google's own store. We're tired of fake Temple Run games and apps that seem to exist only to harvest marketing data. As savvy users we tend to quickly ferret out these kind of apps and give them the boot, but now it looks like Google is prepared to step in and help those who may not be Android enthusiasts. With the apparent push of the Google Play brand, we say the timing is perfect.

Check out the full text of the e-mail after the break.

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We heard earlier in the week about the success the guys at Shifty Jelly have had since the launch of the Nexus 7, but, it seems they're not alone. Mobelux, the developers of the Instapaper app for Android, has shared some of their own numbers. And, much like Shifty Jelly, there has been a definite increase in download numbers since the launch of the Nexus 7.

The figure, is a massive 600% increase in downloads of the app since the date of the Nexus 7 launch. There is of course every chance that the $25 free credit for the Play Store has helped their cause. But it's great to hear stories of developers increased success since the Nexus 7 came to town. An application like Instapaper is something that would naturally suit a 7-inch tablet -- it's a perfect size for reading on after all. The Nexus 7 is the first 7-inch Android tablet -- not counting Amazon's Kindle Fire -- to really capture consumer interest in large numbers, and so far everything is coming up roses. 

Source: TNW

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The Google Play Store appears to be down for users in Puerto Rico. A thread over at the Android section of the Google Code site has received lots of responses from people in Puerto Rico confirming the issue. The problem is affecting a variety of handsets, including the Motorola Xoom (pictured above) to the Galaxy Nexus.

If you're in Puerto Rico and are also experiencing the issue, please head over and report it to Google. Make sure to tell them which device you have and what version of Android you're running.

Hopefully this issue can be quickly resolved.

Source: Google Code

Image courtesy of gcolon

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One of our favorite Twitter clients, Plume, was just updated with a couple of subtle but useful UI changes, features and the always nondescript "bug fixes". If you've used Plume before, you know it's hardly short on features and options to begin with. Even so, they managed to add a couple more. The "timeline" and "profile" sections have been redesigned with font color and a couple layout changes. User names are now displayed in a color that can only be described as "Twitter blue", and user's handles are kept in grey off to the right of the name. Additionally, links in the timeline display in the same way as they do on the Twitter website, colors and formatting in tact. The graphical changes aren't drastic, but they give Plume a bit more polish.

This update also brings volume button scrolling, a polarizing feature you either don't care about, or can't live without. Several other apps have implemented this, and just like most everything else in Plume, it's the user's choice to toggle on. If you haven't tried out Plume, then there's no better time than now -- trust us, it looks really nice on a big Galaxy Nexus screen. It's free in the Google Play Store at the source link below. If you like what this developer is doing, and want to support an app that's following holo guidelines, be sure to give the "Premium" version a look for $4.99.

Source: Google Play Store

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The official cover for the Google Nexus 7 is an elusive beast. As soon as they became available for order, they sold out, and chances are nobody you know got one. The lucky folks that did get their hands on one seem to be enjoying it, and don't have to worry about the back of their new precious getting all scuffed up or the glass getting scratched in a backpack or bag. The good news is that they are available once again, and you can grab one from Google Play for $20 and $10 shipping. We've no idea how long they will last this time, so you might want to jump on one now that you have the chance. 

We just ordered a couple of them, and we'll be sure to give them a good look when they arrive.

Source: Google Play

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Application developers at Shifty Jelly have taken to Twitter to let us all know that they have doubled their Android app sales since the release of the Nexus 7 and Google's $25 Play Store credit. The developers of the popular Pocket Casts podcast app and down under weather app Pocket Weather Australia are clearly seeing the benefit of Google selling the Nexus 7 at cost with Play Store credit as a gateway to Google Play, and remarked about the influx of new users.

We’ve noticed that sales of all our apps have doubled on Android, coinciding with Nexus 7 sales and Google giving out $25 for the Play Store

 

Their attention to detail and great communication have made Pocket Casts one of the premiere podcatchers on Google Play, and we're not surprised to see users downloading the app en masse. It's also great to see Google's idea of selling the Nexus 7 as a gateway to Google Play is working -- there's a lot of great content there, and 25 bucks of it for free looks like it was a good move. Great developers deserve this kind of support, and we hope others are seeing the benefit as well.

Source: @shiftyjelly

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So let’s say you like soccer. Maybe you also live in the US. And just maybe you have a phone running Google’s latest-and-greatest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s a stretch, we know, but if you fit the bill we have an app that you have to check out. MLS MatchDay 2012 just got an update pushed in the Play Store, reiterating its latest features such as “AT&T Goal of the Week”, “High quality videos” and "Improved team schedule". All of these features have been in previous versions though, so why the update?

The big news here is the last line: “Crash fixes for Jelly Bean”. Now if you’ve used and relied on the app for all things MLS in the past, you’ve no doubt noticed the crashes. It was unstable in Ice Cream Sandwich, and downright unusable on Jelly Bean. We’re happy to report that the update sticks to its word, and the app has yet to force close a single time going through all of the menus and screens. So what are you waiting for? Fire up your Jelly Bean-equipped Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus or Nexus S, and go pickup MLS MatchDay 2012 in the Play Store at the source link.

Oh and of course, go Seattle Sounders FC!

Source: Google Play Store

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Google's "social media streamer," the Nexus Q, looked to be approaching launch just a few days ago, with its Google Play Store listing being updated to "in stock", and apparently shipping in 3-5 days.  Well, either the initial stock has entirely sold out, or a snag has been hit somewhere alone the way, as the Q has returned to its previous status of "ships soon," with the glowing multimedia orbs apparently expected to be ready to go in 2-3 weeks.

We ordered a few Nexus Q's to give away right as the device was announced, and none of our orders have shipped so far. If you've placed a Nexus Q order, let us know whether yours has been dispatched down in the comments.

Source: Google Play Store

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Google has changed the availability status of the Nexus Q from "coming soon" to "in stock" (completely passing over the OMFGWTFBBQ stage we saw with the Nexus 7 models), with the qualifier that the device will be shipping out in three to five business days. With that said, we still haven't received any shipping notice about the Q we have on order, so we're still a little leery of any claims with the word soon in them. With the hearty price tag on the Q, it's a pretty good bet that we won't see the shipping and fulfillment nightmare we saw with the Nexus 7, as folks just aren't lined up to spend three hundred bucks on a cannonball that plays your Google Music.

Anyhoo, if you're thinking of picking one of these up, now is your chance while they are in stock and available. Your three Benjamins will get you a solid and well built musical orb with unlimited potential in the right hands. And it makes a sexy lightshow when you reset it.

Source: Google Play

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Google Music has received a pretty major UI overhaul, which brings the interface on previous phones and tablets up to par with the version that ships with the Nexus 7. In short -- it's a great update. The Music app now has the same feeling that the Google+ app has, with plenty of big images and the trademark Google app look. The change log:

  • Now Playing queue that allows for queuing and reordering of currently playing music.
  • New UI for navigation with transport controls on the action bar.
  • New large album art view on Recent.
  • Playlist art is now constructed from album art of songs in the playlist.
  • Now Playing widget has album art and support for thumbs up.
  • Harder, better, faster, stronger.

The changes are great, and the app now has a polish it lacked before. It's great to see the various teams at Google pushing out great updates for their Android apps. If you're a Google Music user (and you should be) this is one you won't want to miss. It's rolling out, including an update for the Nexus 7, via Google Play for devices running Android 2.2 or higher. Grab it at the link below.

Download Google Music from Google Play

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