As we had heard back at Google I/O in late May that a new web-based version of the Play store was in the works, this week’s release came as little surprise. The search giant wishes to unify its platform across both computer, tablet and smartphone, and this update is designed to do exactly that. But, despite the best intentions, the update is not all roses.
The look of the new web page is beautiful and it does indeed bring the mobile experience to the web, as well as adding new features. However, other options disappeared, and those will likely leave customers a bit confused when attending to find their way.
An initial first impression shows a sleeker, better looking homepage with categories such as Apps, Music, Movies and TV and the rest running down the left column — a location where you also will spot your wishlist and gift card options.
As for your installed apps, here is where things take a turn, and perhaps not one in the right direction. You will need to click on “Apps” in the left column before you spot the “My Apps” section.
From here, you find things a bit different from what you remember — for instance, all of the apps you have installed, regardless of device, are lumped together in one screen which begins with any subscriptions you may have.
If you wish to send an app you already have installed on one device to a different device then you can simply click on it and you will find the dropdown menu that provides a list of all you have registered, including phones, tablets and Google TV boxes.
As you can see in the screenshot above, we have a mixed bag — the app is already on my phone, not compatible with my Google TV, but can be sent to my tablet. The two former items result in the greyed out listing. You will need to click the “Installed” button to access this listing.
The new iteration of the web service also lacks the “uninstall” feature that was present in the past. This perhaps will be the most disappointing part of the update for many customers.
Other items within the store remain pretty much unchanged, which is a good thing for customers, many of whom bulk at change, at least initially — just ask Microsoft about Windows 8. In the long run, these things simply require a bit of getting used to, and the new Play store will prove to be more convenient as time passes and customers learn the ropes.