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Google wakes up to Android Market failings

Google wakes up to Android Market failings

With Apple’s ten billionth app sold, it seems Google has at last realised that the time is nigh it got its app house in order. Apple’s effort, as we said earlier this week, remains top dog by some distance and will take some catching.

And while Android Market has clearly been lagging way behind, changes are afoot. The tweaks were announced at this week’s San Francisco Inside Social Apps bash by Android platform manager Eric Chu with the express aim of making the market less clunky and far classier. In short, they’re all about aping Apple.

android toy 1

So what can expect? Well, in-app purchasing for a start. That means devs will at last start making money regularly, something which Chu was brave enough to admit they weren’t really doing right now (Google’s “not happy” with itself in this respect, he said).

The Big G is also pushing towards being more stringent on what kind of apps make it into the market, with Chu saying a team had been employed to rid the store of add-ons that did not meet the required terms of service. But is the latter really going far enough? It seems abundantly clear that the open-to-all-comers approach is harming Android Market’s chances and hampering the OS’s all-round skills.

There’s no doubting Android’s incredible sales and mind share, but it seems Google still has a lot to learn about its app store. While it’s anathema to its philosophy, what Google needs to do is implement an approval process.

android market

This needn’t be as harsh, or arbitrary, as Apple’s controversial set of guidelines. But it would send out a message that half-baked ideas and those which don’t match up to the otherwise stunningly high standards set at Mountain View are not welcome.

There are other areas that show promise though. Improved social contacts so devs can market their apps correctly and, importantly, a better way of finding relevant apps. Chu said the latter was down to fine-tuning algorithms, although he did not say when such fine-tuning would take place.

A better recommendation engine would definitely make Android Market a more enjoyable experience for the 200,000 plus new Android users added every single day. Ultimately, Android Market has more potential than the App Store, by dint of the fact it’s found on a wider range of devices. All the more reason then that Chu’s plans are implemented quickly, before Apple ups its game once more with iOS 5 and the next-gen iPhone and iPad.

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