App discovery in the Google Play store hasn’t exactly been Android’s strong suit. Even with the myriad of categories available, finding something worthwhile is a bit of a doozy. Google’s taking steps to change that, however, by making its Android platform a little more social.
Earlier this week, the company subtly added the ability to check out what your friends have been rating and downloading. Now, the functionality is available on the mobile version of the Google Play Store.
Swipe out the navigation menu and you should see the new People category. There’s a section with apps recently reviewed by “familiar faces,” along with profile photos of people Google thinks you might want to follow on Play. Google will even suggest popular pages you might be interested in following, and offer a handy link to see what your other friends are up to.
It’s really all a ploy to get its Android users hooked on Google+. If Google can’t grow its social network organically, it might as well integrate it tightly into every product you use. But more social integration means that Android users no longer have to feel like lone wolves. There are people downloading apps and content from the Google Play Store, and it’s helpful to be able to see what they’re doing with their respective Android devices.
Even more valuable would be a function similar to the "Near Me" feature in the iPhone App Store, which shows what other apps people typically grab from your geographical location.