Google’s been awfully busy these past few weeks, but it seems that between sunsetting Reader(and pissing off most of the Internet in the process) and rolling out new services like Google Keep,the company has been working on a redesigned version of the Google Play Store for Android. That’s what the folks at Droid-Life claim, anyway. They appear to have obtained and installed the unreleased 4.0 version of the Google Play Android app ahead of a wider release.
The Play Store’s current mobile design first rolled out in July 2012, and while Google has seen fit to rebrand and tinker with a few things since then, more than a few bits look essentially the same as they did back then. If this is the real deal (and I strongly suspect that it is), then Google Play is about to get quite a facelift. Gone are the gloomy blacks and dark grays that used to permeate the app.
This new version returns to a lighter color scheme that’s highly reminiscent of the old Android Market days. On the whole, the new app also looks much cleaner and more spacious than the Play Store that so many of us have gotten used to.
It’s not hard to see some similarities between the updated Play Store app and the Google Now design — there’s a more pronounced focus on bigger images and italicized text. What’s more, individual app listings are separated into little cards rather than being displayed in a more traditional list, yet another sign that Google’s Play Store developers are cribbing UI flourishes from Google Now. If anything, the unification of design between these two services makes me wonder just how far Google plans to go here. After all, Google Now and the Play Store are cornerstones of the Android experience. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see the next version of Android take a similar approach to aesthetics.
At this point there’s no firm word on when (or if) this update is slated to go live, but it’s very possible that Google could wait until I/O to officially pull back the curtain on a redesigned Play Store app. In the meantime, major mobile players like Facebook are exploring ways to bypass the Play Store completely and push new updates to users, so here’s hoping Google pushes the update out before others follow suit.