Technology

Where’s My App: Navigating the Landscape of Google Play

There are thousands of different apps available on Google Play, which is great for choice but it can be quite daunting and time-consuming trying to find the right app every time you enter the store.

Here are some tips on how to find your way around the huge Google Play store, including understanding what Google Play actually is and what you can expect from it, plus insights on search strategies and how to make the most of the available shortcuts and filtering options.

One-stop-shop

If you were looking for the easiest way to describe Google Play just look at the resource as a one-stop-shop that gives you access to not just apps but music, movie rentals, and DVDs to buy as well as e-books.

As you can imagine, having that sort of library at your disposal will mean that you are faced with quite a task searching for something suitable to download if you don’t already know exactly what you want.

It wasn’t always this way for Google customers and only a few years ago you could visit the Android app store and find the searches more streamlined. Now you have a multimedia content channel in the form of Google Play which offers you so many different things from the one single platform.

Searching the store

There are close to 1.5 million apps in the app section of Google Play, so at least if you are searching for a weather app, for example, you can narrow down the search criteria rather than trawl through a lot of listings that might not be relevant to you.

The most obvious starting point is to use the search bar at the top of Google Play and put in the keyword or name of the app that you are trying to find. It is far better to have a fairly clear idea of what app you are looking for rather than entering a fairly generic search that is going to return a lot of hits.

In order of preference when searching the store using the search bar, type in the specific name of the app if you know it. If you are not sure or don’t know the name of the app, think of a keyword that is going to bring up a list of apps that might include the one that you are looking for.

If you are looking for an app that delivers the latest sports scores for instance but don’t have any particular app in mind, you can filter the results by rating and price, so that you don’t have to scroll past low-rated apps if they are of no interest to you.

Using collections to find what you want

If you are interested in finding a range of apps that are in a specific category, such as fitness or educational aids, you should be able to find collections of apps that have been grouped together under the relevant theme that would describe what the apps are about.

If you are searching in a popular category like family-friendly apps, for example, you will be able to take a shortcut to collections of apps that all have the potential to be of interest to you. You can then choose from this filtered list rather than having to decide what is suitable from a more general list of apps.

Once you learn how to successfully navigate the landscape of Google Play, you will find it much easier to go straight to what you want.

Caitlin Johnson is a student who isn’t ashamed to show her geekiness. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of tech with an online audience.

April 2018
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