An update to the Google Play Store has started rolling out this morning and it brings along some minor improvements to the existing user experience — be it features or only the interface. But, a teardown of the Android app exposes that the search giant is preparing to debut some prominent features like Play Protect — to alert users when installing apps from unknown sources and progress of Instant Apps — a feature shown off at Google I/O last year but has been much-awaited since then.
This Play Store update (version #7.8) brings along some nifty additions to keep your apps updated and keep a check on what happens after installation. This means you will now be served with a notification, a reminder to notify you to stay on your toes with automatic updates. This will, however, be quite subtle and appear on the redesigned ‘My Apps & Games’ page under the updates section.
Also, if you’ve ever explored the Play Store, you’d know that Google provides you with an option to toggle the addition of apps to the home screen automatically after installation. You’ve now been ripped off this choice as the toggle seems to be missing from the Play Store settings window in some situations, reports Android Police.
But, these are the visible features that already exist on the surface. There are several hints in the internal code of the Play Store about the upcoming feature set – this is applicable for any Android app package (apk). So, the teardown has revealed the following features:
This feature of the Play Store, which enables you to easily run parts of an Android app directly from search results without having to install the complete package, has been in the works for quite a long time. It was first shown off at Google I/O last year and has since been under testing with a handful of developers, making random appearances from time to time. Now, we are nearing the next I/O developer conference and this Instant Apps feature also seems to be taking shape.
We’re currently not aware of the apps that’ll implement this feature because a minor change needs to be introduced in the code. And we haven’t seen much of the feature since its demo but strings of code which hint at the settings which will come with this feature are now known. This is basically a settings screen with options to disable Instant Apps, change Google account used for sign-ups and in-app payments feature. The change in Google account will result in data loss for the said account. Here’s evidence from the code:
All instant apps and associated app data, including app permissions, will be removed for the current account.
We are aware of the fact that Google has integrated a malware scanner into the Play Store to protect our privacy and data from being breached due to a malicious app. This feature didn’t have any name until date, but it will now be known as — Play Protect. It will now scan every application you install on your Android device and later tout that installed app has been ‘Verified by Play Protect’ and is now safe to use.
The details surrounding this feature are scarce, but the new moniker could mean two things — a gimmick to make the virus scanner prominent and visible or addition of new features which are currently unknown. We don’t have to wait very long though because the Google I/O conference is right around the corner.
Google Play Store, for those unaware, doesn’t only have core and beta channel for applications. It also enables developers to launch a pre-registration page for their apps or games to know the traction around the same. This feature was introduced back in 2015 and can come in handy for handling registrations before the app officially goes live on Google Play Store. The users who have signed up for the app receive a notification when it is officially released.
This feature, however, provided no real incentive to Android users who’ve pre-registered for the gaming app. Well, you did receive a notification when the time came and nothing else, but you’ll soon be provided with some real incentives to users joining the waitlist. The teardown of the app mentions the string ‘pre-registration rewards’ that would provide users with something credible when some milestones are achieved. So, it may require you to spread the word on social media and achieve certain targets to be rewarded.