Google Play Store Updates To 5.4

Google Play Store and Services received an update to versions 5 and 7 two weeks ago, respectively, as previously reported in the Inquisitr. The updates to the Google Play Store in version 5 were mostly cosmetic; aside from a brand new age-rating system, most of the obvious changes were 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 from store icons. It also featured activity data, integration with wearable sensors (such as the FitBit), and support for Enterprise apps.

On the surface, the Google Play Store 5.4 update seems like more of the same, as reported by Yibada. The most significant change in version 5.4 is that the notification bar is now completely transparent while a user is viewing an app page. This might not seem like a huge change, but the amount of space taken up by the bar is fairly significant, and many users had complained that they were finding it difficult to actually find the information they needed on an app’s page. After reviewing a fairly long discussion in the community forums, Google’s app engineers decided that the best solution was to make the bar transparent and push the change in the next Google Play Store update.

The Google Play Store widget has also been disabled in 5.4 but is expected to return soon; the reasons are currently unknown.

In other Google Play news, ITProPortal notes a recent report released by Google on Android security and malware, titled the Android Security State of the Union 2014. Looking back on Android security last year, the report starts by detailing security-focused updates to the Android infrastructure – full-disk encryption, the spread of hardware-backed cryptography, and better sandboxing in particular.

Next, Google notes that malware installations dropped by half between Q1 and Q2 2014, suggesting that more than a billion devices are “protected with Google Play” and noting that less than 0.15 percent of devices that only install apps through the Google Play Store have suffered from malware infections. Of those who do install apps from other sources (competing app stores, third-party downloads, etc), the number of infected devices still comes in under 1 percent — a significant victory for Google, especially when (as per a report from TechNewsWorld) up to a third of the world’s computers could be infected with malware as of July, 2014 – and it’s fair to say that most people probably keep some fairly sensitive data on their smartphones (including credit cards registered with Google Play itself).

Malware aside, the Google Play Store 5.4.10 update has begun to roll out worldwide and should shortly be coming to an Android device near you.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]