Google is always busy improving its applications on Android, and today the storefront for the hundreds of thousands of Android apps received a nice update. It’s loaded with new features, and some much needed security changes.
Being the first update in over three months, today users are seeing a brand new Google Play Store on their Android devices. This version has plenty of enhancements, a few menu tweaks, batch install options, and a brand new menu for setting a password and improving security on your Android devices. In the past it was easy for kids to overspend on Android, which Google’s now seeing a lawsuit over much like Apple did in the past, and today’s update fixes one major flaw.
The brand new Google Play Store version 4.6.16 is rolling out to all users as of this morning, but it’s a slow and staged rollout so don’t expect to see it right away. It should hit most devices by the end of the weekend, but the guys at AndroidPolice have it readily available to download.
Like Apple, lately Google is in some hot water over the lack of security on the Google Play Store, which allows kids to accidentally spend hundreds of dollars against their parents own wishes. Google recently had a lawsuit filed against them for this exact thing, and this update aims to improve security and prevent accidental in-app purchases. A brand new password area has been updated with three options to improve the security and prevent purchases.
The screenshot above shows the all-new Google Play Store rolling out today. One of the biggest changes is how the app store handled in app purchases. Previously you could spend at will, and even if a password was set (as described in the link above) that offered a 30-minute window for purchases. Meaning if a parent puts in the password once for a single purchase, kids could continue buying things for up to 30 minutes without the password. It’s a convenience thing for most consumers, but something that Google’s been criticized over.
You’ll now have to option for no password, a 30-minute window, or always ask for a password for purchases. The latter is the safest option, but will need to be enabled in the settings menu.
So what’s new? The main menu now has an option for settings right front and center, instead of only in the menu button under settings, so users can clearly head to the settings section to change options and add a password. This was hidden before, and now it’s front and center.
Google’s also added a brand new option for batch app installs. If you head into apps and tap the “All” tab on the top, it shows all apps the user has ever downloaded. Both free and paid. If you ever get a new device, you can long-press and enable batch mode. Then tap every app you’d like to install and add them to a new device all at once.
It appears that Google is pushing this brand new version of the Play Store out to users as we speak, and most should get it within the next few days. While there is a few user interface tweaks and some more bold font, the biggest changes are the batch installs and security options mentioned above.