Google Play Store 5, Services 7 Now Available

The latest version of Google Play was released today, with a host of new features and updates to almost all of Google’s core applications, collectively known as “Google Play Services” as per an article on The REM. The Google Play Services include Gmail, calendar, Drive, Google+, Hangouts, music, the store, and more. Version 5 of the Google Play store was the biggest update featured today, but the entire framework is a required update to access the new features.

The Google Play update also includes the ability to use your smartphone as a game pad in conjunction with Google Chrome. This has been possible in the past with third-party apps but is now a built-in feature. It also makes some significant improvements to Google’s GPS and location-based services.

As previously reported in the Inquisitr, the latest version of the Google Play Store also features an age-rating system and Google is working with several countries to determine appropriate ratings. New apps submitted to the store will also now require a rating questionnaire to be filled out by developers before they will be approved. Apps already in the store will be marked “unrated.” Alongside this system, Google has updated their guidelines for having an app published in the store and has stated that new apps will now have to be approved by a “team of experts.”

The Fuse Joplin has some more in-depth details of the new Google Play Store update. Most of the obvious changes are of a design nature; a longer sidebar, app card shadows (which will only be available on devices running Android 5 Lollipop,) smoother scrolling and the elimination of animation, presumably both for performance reasons and to prevent developers from using over-the-top animations to catch a browser’s attention, which has been a problem not just for Google Play but many similar stores and listings in the past, including Steam Greenlight and the Windows Store.

The very latest update to the Google Play Store, which has just started being “pushed” to phones but is available for everyone download as an APK will also feature activity data, integration with wearable sensors (such as the FitBit) and support for Enterprise apps.

The new Google Play update of course also brings with it a host of bug fixes, general visual improvements and a somewhat different design aesthetic across the board. It also updates most of Play’s icons (including Widget Suggestion icons and notification icons) in keeping with Google’s latest design philosophy.

The latest updates to Google Play Services and the Google Play Store have begun rolling out to users today. Expect to see them on your Android smartphone soon.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]