Google tests using AI to show 'App highlights' in Play Store listings

Google Play Store home page on Android and Chrome OS
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has been testing a few ways of integrating artificial intelligence into Play Store listings, dating back to November 2023. 
  • The company's latest test includes AI-based app summaries, officially called "App highlights," and is being rolled out as a server-side trial. 
  • Previously, Google was trying out FAQs in Play Store listings, which are also generated with AI. 

Google is trying to use artificial intelligence to power new features across all its products and services, from smartphones to Google Workspace. One area in which we haven't seen much user-facing AI is the Google Play Store. That's clearly something that Google wants to change because the company has been testing AI-based features in the Play Store since November of last year.

Now, Google's latest attempt at AI in the Play Store comes via App highlights, according to Android expert @AssembleDebug in a post on X. With new App highlights, users can view quick bits of information about an app — all at a glance. These are presumably compiled from the app's full description, which is much longer than the brief App highlights.

In fact, the App highlights are extremely concise and are sometimes as short as just a few words. Take the X (formerly Twitter) app, for instance, and its new App highlights. Google's AI simply listed "direct messages" as a clear and concise highlight for the X app in its Play Store listing. These appear to be bullet-point-style bits of information rather than complex explanations. 

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This is a different approach to AI app summaries than Google has taken in the past. The company previously tested App FAQs for Play Store listings, which featured lengthy details about applications. Additionally, App FAQs were AI-generated and included information provided by users in Play Store reviews. 

App FAQs appeared near the bottom of Play Store listings, right above the customer reviews section. However, the newer App highlights appear at the top of the Play Store listing, right under the Install button. 

Notably, there is no way for end users to manually gain access to the App highlights feature. It's being tested in a server-side rollout, and some users already have reported being able to use the feature. However, the tests appear to be extremely limited as of now. 

Those who can see the feature will spot an App highlights block near the top of a Google Play Store listing. It's described as follows: "Get details about this app summarized by Google AI." Even if users can see App highlights, they will need to manually press Show to view them. 

Google is clearly testing out quite a few different ways of integrating AI into the Play Store. It's unclear what version of Google's AI app summaries will make the cut or when they might be widely available to Play Store users.

Brady Snyder
Contributor

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.