You can now filter apps in the Play Store by ratings

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Google has finally added a much needed option to finding apps in the Play Store: filtering apps by ratings.

Normally if you’re looking for a new app, you’d have to scroll through every app on the Play Store. If any of you have done that for more than five minutes, you probably know there’s just as much junk and spam as actual apps. Fortunately, most of those apps get poor ratings and it’s easy to see bad apps from a distance, but with this new filter, you won’t even have to see those apps. 
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Nexus Player pre-order facility withdrawn from the Play Store

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Earlier today, Google published a pre-order page for its new Nexus Player on the Play Store to invite eager Android enthusiasts to reserve themselves a set-top box prior to its official release. Unfortunately, though, within a couple of hours of going live, an “out of inventory” message appeared on the website.

This brief note left many of us confused. The most popular hypothesis put forward was that Google had run out of $20 Play Store Gift Cards to award to each customer who pre-ordered the unit in the United States and Canada as promised by the search engine giant. But, as it turns out, that wasn’t the case.


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Google Play Store downloads beat out iOS App Store downloads in volume by 60%

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According to the latest numbers about app store downloads, Google’s Play Store sees about 60% more volume for downloads than Apple’s App Store. There were roughly 160 million downloads in Q3 on the Play Store, while the App Store only saw about 100 million. Both are impressive numbers however you slice, but Android’s enormous market share globally is really showing through here.
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Chrome for Android update brings “additional Material Design”

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Google is currently in the process of distributing a stability update for its official Chrome for Android client via the Play Store. In terms of added functionality, the upgrade brings a shed load of bug fixes, stability improvements and speed optimizations, as well as “additional Material Design updates,” support for battery status and screen orientation APIs.

Hit the break for the full changelog.


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Google looking into letting users trial apps without a full app download

Google_Play_Services_LogoSometimes it can be tough to decide if an app is worth spending any time or data on, especially if it’s a bigger app that takes awhile to download and consumes lots of space on your device. Google is apparently looking into technology that would let potential customers test drive an app without having to do any of that, which would save time and could potentially lead to more app sales and downloads.

This idea is really focused more on developing markets where data is more expensive, and that’s been one of Google’s heavy focuses as of late. The tech would very likely be used in countries like the US, but since WiFi networks with untiered data connections are more readily available, it’s not quite as useful. 
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Google now listing price ranges for in-app purchases in Play store [Update: Developer addresses too]

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As they indicated in an announcement a couple weeks ago, Google has started listing price ranges for in-app purchases in the descriptions for applications. The data is currently only available when viewing an app’s listing using an Android smartphone or tablet. To find the information, you have to use the “Read more” link in the description section and then scroll down to the bottom where Google displays information about the application like the version number, last update, and size. The information is not showing up via desktop browsers yet.
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Finland and New Zealand are the first to get Rovio’s new Angry Birds Transformers game

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Rovio took to its official blog earlier today to announce the soft launch of its new, action-packed Angry Birds Transformers game in both Finland and New Zealand.

Following a successful launch in these two countries, the title will go live in Australia and Canada, closely followed by the United States. It will then gradually move to the rest of the world — all before Thursday, October 30.

Hit the break below to view the full gameplay trailer.


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Google in talks with Airtel to offer Play Store carrier billing in India

Google_Play_Logo_2855Carrier billing is a useful feature on the Play Store, as it allows customers to make purchases without having to use a credit or debit card. Most people don’t mind using a card, but not everyone is willing to put their personal info into a smartphone, and many other people don’t even have a card to use. This is especially true in India, where only about 2% of the general population uses a credit or debit card, and that’s where Google is looking to push carrier billing options next.

Google has been in talks with Airtel, India’s largest wireless carrier, to begin offering carrier billing to their customers. With 40 million customers, that’s a lot of potential market to gain. The terms of the deal aren’t clear, although it’s reported that Google is offering Airtel 10% of each transaction (which is fairly low compared to other carriers) but it seems like the deal will happen in the near future regardless.
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