❤ Google Play now shows ads, events in search history
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Ads already appear throughout the Play Store, and Google is now showing them when you start a search alongside other visual tweaks.
When you tap the Google Play search bar at the top of the app, you previously just saw your last four queries. Now, you might see up to three “limited-time events as well as sponsored suggestions,” with past searches appearing below that.
Limited-time events are an existing tool used to promote streaming apps that might have a particularly interesting sporting match later in the day or in-game events. They often appear as cards in the Play Store’s main feeds. They are now surfaced in search history with app name, icon, rating, and download count.
Additionally, Google Play is also showing “sponsored suggestions” that are explicitly labeled as an “Ad,” though some users would consider limited-timed events to be essentially the same thing. Both types disappear as you start typing your search.
Moving search history further down the list is unfortunate and telling in terms of company priorities. Meanwhile, a small tweak sees more prominent icons next to past queries for easier sorting.
This change was announced in the April Google System Updates changelog and has been rolling out in recent weeks. (first spotted a variant of it in November 2022.) Google this week also detailed other Play Store additions, including “key app and game highlights from what others are saying” in Play search results.
You can also get “apps and games to download over cellular data from the download notification while waiting for Wi-Fi.”
April Google System Updates: Play Store gets easier cell data downloads, more [U]
The Google System Updates for April 2023 bring improvements to the Play Store, including making it easier to download apps over cellular data.
There’s so much more to an Android smartphone than just the base operating system, as anyone who’s used a phone without Google apps can tell you. The “smarts” that Google brings to mobile devices primarily come from two crucial apps – Google Play Services and the Play Store – and Android’s monthly “Play system updates.”
Each month, the company rounds up the patch notes for these three components and collectively refers to them as “Google System Updates.” Over the course of the month, as new updates are released, the company will fill in the notes with more details. We do our best to monitor the additions and explain the most important aspects, so be sure to check back throughout the month.
The easiest way to check whether you need to update Google Play Services on your phone is to follow a direct link to the app’s Play Store listing and update from there, if available. To update the Play Store, tap your avatar in the corner, then “Settings.” Under the “About” section, you’ll see an option to “Update Play Store.” Meanwhile, Google Play system updates can be found through the Settings app, under About phone > Android version > Google Play system update.
g an option in the app. In the near future (sometime after the Play Store v35.0 update), the option to download over mobile data will also, conveniently, appear in the active download notification.
Meanwhile, another update to the Play Store (version 35.2) should offer “direct access” to Google’s “My Ad Center,” where you’re able to change your advertising privacy settings and/or adjust the kinds of ads that you see. The changelog doesn’t mention where this shortcut will appear, but the Google Account menu (opened by tapping your avatar in the top-right corner) is a likely bet.
While April may have ended, Google’s patch notes for the month have not. This afternoon, the company shared numerous new features and tidbits.
The biggest highlight is what the notes refer to as “support for Fido2 on the Android Platform.” In practice, this is support for the new “passkey” login for Google Accounts and other supported apps. It seems you’ll need to have Google Play Services version 23.14 to use these.
Nearby Share is getting a small tweak, adding some new instructions to help troubleshoot why your intended recipient may not be appearing.
In the Play Store, the search experience has gotten a revamp. When beginning a new search, your recent search history will also show suggested apps with “limited-time events” as well as “sponsored suggestions.” Meanwhile, the search results page will show useful highlights for some apps/games, including quotes from other people’s reviews.
It’ll also soon be a bit easier to search for apps from the Play Store. An update to Play Services should allow the “All apps” search bar in your app drawer to show results from the Play Store. If done right, this could make it easier to download an app you thought you already had installed.
Lastly, Wear OS watches should see a small boost in battery life after an update to Play Services that tweaks “system management services.”
Google Play System Updates for April 2023
- [Auto, Phone, TV, Wear] String improvements to Google sign-in screen shown on enterprise devices.
- [Phone] Helpful instructions to discover Nearby receiving device.
- [Phone] New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support Maps & Device Performance related developer services in their apps.
Google Play Store
- New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.
- Optimizations allowing faster and more reliable download and installation.
- Continuous improvements to Play Protect to keep your device safe.
- Various performance optimizations, bug fixes and improvements to security, stability and accessibility.
- [Auto, PC, Phone] Users can allow apps and games to download over cellular data from the download notification while waiting for Wi-Fi.
- [Phone] With this update, you will have direct access to My Ad Center.
- [Phone] When starting a search, you can now see suggestions for apps with limited-time events as well as sponsored suggestions next to your past searches.
- [Phone] On your search results, you can now see key app and game highlights from what others are saying.
Security & Privacy
- [Phone] Adding support for Fido2 on the Android Platform.
- [Phone] New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support Utilities related processes in their apps.
- [Wear] Updates to system management services that improve Battery Life.
- [Phone] New functionality allowing users to search for Play Store apps from the All Apps search box on Android devices.
- [Auto, PC, Phone] Updates to system management services that improve Privacy and Stability.
- [Phone] Bug fixes for System Management & Diagnostics related services.