Yesterday we saw Google add new app suggestions to the web-based Android Market, but it turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg for improvements to the app store. Today, as Google I/O continues, the company has revealed several new changes that are going into effect, including even more new ways to discover apps, and the relaxing of size limits, allowing developers to release significantly larger apps.
Once relegated to 50MB downloads, developers will now be able to sell apps as large as 4GB. The massive increase could act as a shot-in-the-arm to Android development, allowing studios to create games packed full of content and approaching the quality and depth of console titles. Sure, that may mean more users choosing to wait to download apps until they’re on WiFi, but that’s a small price to pay for all the flexibility this decision affords developers.
One of the new ways to discover apps that Google’s come up with is to add a section to the Market with staff pics – an editor’s choice section where Google employees can cherry-pick their favorites to share with users. The listing of top apps, both paid and free, will now be specific to the country you’re in, recognizing that what’s popular with one group of users may not interest another.
You’ll now be able to easily recognize the best app developers, with Google tagging the ones that have built a reputation for cranking out really popular, high-quality works. The 150 that make this list will be identified by icon in the Market. Improved suggestions for related apps will look at not only what people download, but what app listings they view, directly users with similar tastes to see what each other has been browsing. Lastly, a listing of trending apps will show what’s been hot in the past day or so, letting you stay ahead of the curve and check out the next big app while it’s still just getting popular.
These new discovery features are live in the browser-based Market, and will arrive on smartphones shortly.