New Google Play design spotted on Google+

Looks like the redesigned Google Play app is very near, in fact we can see the officially release in the next few days. A YouTube employee Eileen Rivera today shared the following screenshot on Google +, suggesting the redesigned app is currently being tested internally.

If you can notice in the Google Play icon on the top of the screenshot, it shows the dogfood icon, further cementing that Google is “dogfooding” this new version of the Google Play among its employees. If everything goes well, we will see the roll-out very soon.

The new version screenshot looks similar to what we saw in a leak last month. Google certainly seems to be opting Google Now like cards design, although not much is visible here. But, the bigger app shortcuts look a lot like Google Now cards.

Google is also expected to redesign its official web page but we are yet to see any leaks about that. We hope that the search giant has improved the app discovery in the new version, as it still remains a big problem for consumers as well as developers.

As per the last leak, the new Play Store version will be known as 4.0.

Leaked Google Play Store update shows a cleaner home for all your apps

The Google Play store has been the subject of constant change over the years. What started out as the Android Market with only a few apps, is now the Play Store, which has apps, books, magazines, games, music and movies to offer to its users.

While the Play Store’s success can be seen in the number of apps that are available for download – over 700,000 apps and games at last count – there is a feeling that Google could spruce up the UI to get it in line with the design of the company’s other services. Currently the Play Store’s landing page looks cluttered and busy.

However, an update is in the offing. Discovered by Droid Life, the Play Store 4.0.16 looks much more polished with the image-heavy front page being toned down to a large extent. More importantly, there are no more highlighted or featured apps being pushed on to the front cover. Instead, one gets a plain and simple stacked button layout where you can select whether you want to browse through apps, games, music, movies, books or magazines sections of the store. The fonts have been changed slightly too. And there’s a lot more breathing room for objects in the new layout.

Underneath this stack is a section called ‘App Focus’, which will seemingly feature a bunch of apps from a single developer. This is perhaps Google’s way of giving more of the spotlight to the top developers. App recommendations catered for you follow the App Focus section.

Inside each section too, the Holo theme is very apparent. Google has decided to brighten up the UI considerably and where grey accents were generously sprinkled in the old Play Store, the new version of the app brings a more sunny disposition. Category section titles get new fonts and inside each category, the items for sale get bigger images. Each item is stored in a separate Google Now-style thumbnail card.

 

The layouts of most other pages, including search results and settings, remain largely the same with a few aesthetic changes. The search results are laid out with more space between each app and results from each section are shown here, beginning with apps. Each section’s results can be expanded and under the title bar there’s a dropdown menu, which should allow users to easily navigate between sections. Overall, there is clearly an effort to bring some eye candy to the Play Store with each app or song or game getting a larger placeholder for its picture.

Another change is seen in the details section of each app; where once an “Allow automatic updating” checkbox was, now there’s a “Do not auto-update” checkbox. This could mean that Google might be enabling automatic update for all apps unless the user chooses otherwise. The website put up a video with a detailed look at the new Play Store.

There is no saying when we will be seeing the new version of the Play Store roll out, but it’s a safe bet to say that with a leaked APK floating around, the official version is not far off

Google Play Gift Cards Coming Soon To UK

play-card_coupons

If you had any doubt about the existence or the availability of Google Play Store gift cards, then the company themselves have dropped one of the biggest hints yet that their arrival is extremely imminent. We’ve been hearing about the gift cards for quite some time now, with various logs showing up in certain retail databases, but Google has updated one of their own support pages with extensive information about the cards and the balance of individual Play accounts.

Customers based in the United States have been able to get their hands on the Google branded gift cards since August of 2012,  but that luxury is yet to be extended to the United Kingdom or other parts of Europe and the world. The official word from Google is that they have “nothing to formally announce yet“, but the updated support page actually lets the cat out of the bag by stating that Play Store cards are already available in the United Kingdom.

Readers are directed to a different webpage on the Google domain that has been designed to allow us to search for retail outlets that sell the cards. That site directs to a dead link at the moment, indicating that the updating of the support page to announce availability is more than a little premature. With that said, it does give us the clearest indication yet that the gift cards will be arriving on the UK shores very soon.

Play Store Cards UK

The information also suggests that the cards will be available in £10, £25 and £50 denominations when they actually do launch, with all funds from redeemed cards being added immediately to the relevant Google Play account balance. The available cards tie in nicely with the products that have been available in the United States for the last six months, although US based consumers also have the option of a $15 card as well as the $10, $25 and $50 options.

The additional information also informs users that the Play cards cannot be used to purchase any hardware based products from the Play Store, but will be able to be used to buy digital in-app content from apps that are based around the “freemium” model.