Google Play Store’s new Editors Choice pages put curated apps front and center

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Finding new apps on the Google Play Store can be a daunting task. Even though the storefront has gone through numerous iterations over the past several years, the abundance of options can still make it tough to come across something that catches your eye. Fortunately, Google is rolling out a redesigned Editors’ Choice section today, July 19, that delivers more curated recommendations to users in simple, brief packages.

There are a couple app guides already live, like the five essential road trip apps, or the best apps for learning a new language. Google Play’s editors have handpicked a selection of apps for a variety of categories, and each one is accompanied by a quick blurb as well as three standout features. These pages are available on both mobile and desktop versions of the store, and are currently live in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, with other regions to follow soon.

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The goal, Google says, is to “take out the guesswork” in trying out different apps to find the right fit. It’s something Apple is also attempting to do with the upcoming App Store redesign planned for iOS 11. After the update arrives in the fall, users will be presented with a new “Today” page upon opening the App Store. The tab will highlight different iPhone and iPad apps on a daily basis in an effort to encourage shoppers to visit more regularly.

In addition to making it easier to find apps, Google also plans to make it easier to use them with the release of Instant Apps. Fully unveiled at the company’s I/O conference in May, Instant Apps allow developers to post a lightweight version of their apps that users can experience immediately — no download necessary. Instant Apps won’t always offer the same degree of functionality as full apps, though they should be better-equipped than mobile web pages and are ideal for one-time uses.

A good example is Hotel Tonight, one of the first companies to make an Instant App available to the public. It’s a nice fit for the platform because it allows users to easily make a booking without necessitating a full install of the app, which they’ll probably only use for a weekend. There are many more Instant Apps out in the wild, like Periscope, The Weather Channel, and Ticketmaster — though they’re still only available on certain devices at the moment.

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