Google officially announces the Play Store’s visual redesign

It’s 5 years since Google unveiled what is perhaps one of its biggest redesigns in the Android platform’s history: Material Design. It was availed with version 5.0 (codenamed Lollipop) of what was then, and remains today, the most widely used mobile operating system, Android.

Material Design, which comprises the use of grid-like layouts, paddings and depth effects like shadows that are heavily inspired by the card design the company had been rolling out to its apps a few years earlier, is now widely deployed by developers of the millions of apps and games that Google says bring over 2 billion users every month to the Play Store.

As such, it is only fair that the company gets to drink from the same bottle of wine it has been urging everyone to do so from, right?

Don’t get us wrong. It is not like Google hasn’t been on the Material Design bandwagon for a few years already. It’s just that with what’s been happening recently, at least as far as we’ve been able to notice, the changes appear to be more deliberate.

Over the last few weeks, users around the world, including yours truly, have been pleasantly surprised by the new design that has been rolling out to the Google Play Store.

This week, Google is enabling the same visual redesign and rolling it out to all users.

Part of the visual changes includes the clear separation between apps and games with each getting their own tab at the bottom to allow users to switch and browse through with ease.

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Long-time users of the Play Store (aren’t we all?) will be quick to notice the all-white-everything theme that is going on. Gone is the green accent colour that dominated the Play Store itself as well as the status bar. That is for us Kenyans. Those of our brothers and sisters abroad will also notice the disappearance of the red and blue accents for their movies/TV and books content, respectively.

In the absence of nested tabs at the top, the top carousel now takes users between charts and app/game categories.

The usual Material Design elements that users have already encountered in other apps, like Google’s own Newsstand, for those that care to use it, are visible throughout the Play Store, bringing with them an air of familiarity for those that have been using Material Design-heavy apps as well as an air of freshness for anyone that had been left behind.

“Once users find the right app or game, the updated store listing page layout surfaces richer app information at the top of each page as well as a more prominent call-to-action button. This makes it easier for users to see the important details and make a decision to install your app,” the company notes in an update to developers.

The only thing that Google appears to have forgotten in its statement are the very large icons – first thing you’ll notice, by the way. What’s going on there?

Have you received the redesign?

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at]