With how many of Google's core apps are getting the update to its new, flatter Material Design lately, the release of Android L can't be too much further away. While we wait for that, however, the Google Play redesign leaked not too long ago is available for sideloading right now, as spotted by Droid Life. With it, the "What's New" section's been moved back to the top of the store and you'll now be able to create device-specific profiles (like one for phones and another for tablets) for restoring a custom set of apps per gizmo-type. If you'd rather not wait your turn for the update from Mountain View, DL has the APK, while Android Police has a smattering of screenshots if you want an advance look of what you're getting into. If you haven't started a betting pool for when Android L will hit, now just might be the time.
Let's say you're perpetually late to the party and are only just now getting around to checking out Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. Well, sadly your 11-month tardiness isn't doing you any favors here: Disney is pulling the app from both Google Play and the App Store, as spotted by Gamezebo. An anonymous source told the site that Tiny Death Star and Star Wars Assault Team are getting the axe with the intent to retire them and focus on other titles instead. Ian Marsh, co-owner of Death Star developer NimbleBit, revealed to Gamezebo that the delisting is as much a surprise to him as it is to everyone else. Speaking to Pocket Gamer, he said that he hadn't been told of any of this by Disney before it'd happened and that Mickey and Co. likely no longer felt the game was worth the cost of upkeep anymore. Death Star was a "significant source of revenue" for Marsh and his team, which he says makes this sting that much more.
Google may have already given Android's Play Store a big makeover this summer, but it's not done yet -- there's another revamp coming this year. Android Police has posted shots of a pre-release Play Store 5.0 update that's very clearly guided by Google's Material Design concept. While it's not quite as dramatic an overhaul as what we saw a few months ago, it's still a pretty noticeable change. Swaths of bright, solid color are everywhere, and there's even more of an emphasis on title pictures. You should get some extra function to go with this form, too; code buried in the update hints that you'll get to restore apps on a per-device basis, making it much easier to recreate your setup from an old phone. It's not certain just when the new Play Store will go live, but it's reasonable to presume that you'll see it around the same time as the similarly-styled Android L update.
Source: Android Police
You may remember that Google Play Music All Access on Android briefly got public playlist searching back in August, only to lose the option a short while later. Well, it's back -- and this time, it appears to be here to stay. Much like Spotify, the update Play Music app now lets you find others' carefully curated mixes and stream them on the spot. If you need a ready-made party playlist or just want to find out what your friends are listening to, you only have to visit the playlists section and start typing. The feature may take a while to hit your phone, but Android Police has a download if you can't wait to check out others' tastes in tunes.
Source: Google Play
While Google already had been offering an extended two-hour window for app and game returns, the outfit has officially acknowledged the change. Before the switch, Android users had 15 minutes to decide whether or not they wanted to keep software they'd just purchased. From the title's page in Google Play, options for Open and Refund are displayed during the 120-minute period following the initial download. Once that time is up though, you're saddled with it for good as Refund is replaced the Uninstall button. Don't expect to get multiple refunds for the same app, either. Once you've received your funds back, if you choose to splurge for the same selection again, you can't return it a second time.
Via: Android Central
Source: Google Play Support Page
Secret's app is ostensibly meant for office gossip and getting transgressions out of your system, but it has also been abused by bullies wanting to intimidate and shame others. Well, one Brazilian judge is fed up with that misuse -- enough so that he's ordering Apple and Google to remove Secret not just from their respective local app stores, but from people's devices. Microsoft also has to yank Cryptic, an equivalent Windows Phone app. If the companies don't take action within 10 days, they face fines of 20,000 Reals ($8,876) per day. That's a drop in the bucket given their massive revenue streams, but it's reasonable to say that they'd rather not pay that much just to keep one title available in one country.
Source: Estadao (translated)
Google regularly screens Android apps in the Play Store, but it's usually focused on blocking malware and scams rather than the substance of the apps themselves. Today, though, it took the rare step of policing content by removing Bomb Gaza, a game that made light of the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. A spokesman would only tell Reuters that it pulls apps which "violate [the company's] policies," but the forced exit came not long after outrage from Play Store users who felt that the game trivialized very real casualties. Most likely, Google took the title down due to terms of service that forbid hate speech and abusive material; users can flag apps they find offensive, so it wouldn't have taken much to prompt action. While the move isn't completely surprising as a result, it's a reminder that Google will clamp down when software is virtually tailor-made for antagonizing entire cultures.
It looks like you won't have to wait long at all to check out Google's visually rich Play Store revamp -- it's rolling out now. The refresh doesn't appear any different on the surface, but a quick dive shows very different product pages that are clearly inspired by the company's multi-layered Material Design philosophy. Cover art plays a much larger role, and details like rating overviews and genres have been moved into easy-to-read icons. You might not like everything about the new storefront -- there's considerably more scrolling involved, for one thing. On the whole, though, it's both prettier and easier to understand at a glance. The revamp should reach your device within days, but Android Police has an installer if you just can't wait to see what's new.
Source: Google Play (Twitter)
If you've ever been burned by downloading a mobile app that you don't want or doesn't work, relief may be in sight... so long as you're in South Korea, at least. The country's Fair Trade Commission has ordered both Apple and Google to make their app refund policies more consumer-friendly. To start, Apple must make it easier to claim refunds on in-app purchases; if your kid goes wild buying in-game items, you should have an easier time getting your money back. Google, meanwhile, has to let developers set their own refund terms.
You trust your friends for restaurant recommendations, so why not apps as well? That's the idea behind Google Play's new "People" section, which attempts to leverage Google+ as a way to show which apps your friends like enough to award a +1 (you'll be able to see their ratings on those apps too). And it's not just restricted to your buddies either; the section will suggest other folks on G+ that you should follow to get even more app recommendations. The update should have rolled out to your Android handheld by now, but you can view the same reviews and ratings under the "From Familiar Faces" heading on the web store as well.
Source: Google Play