Google Play's new 'Early Access' section offers a sneak peek at unreleased apps

You can check out which beta programs you've joined with a new tab that lists them all in one place.

google play store
Credit: Derek Walter

Android makes it pretty easy for developers to give out early access to apps they’re still trying to perfect.

But finding them usually relies on word of mouth or stumbling across the app while perusing the Play Store. Google is going to put them up front now, with a dedicated section called Early Access Apps. 

You may or may not see it quite yet. It wasn’t active on my Galaxy S7 Edge, but did appear on my Nexus 7. There’s an official help site detailing the new section, so a rollout is certainly underway.

early access apps

There’s a new, dedicated section for early release apps in the Play Store.

This section is divided into games and apps, with the obligatory warning that the app may be unstable. That caveat aside, you just need to hit the install button to try it out. A couple of paid apps are even on the list, which means you’ll have access to when the official version launches.

Another new feature is a dedicated beta tab inside of the My Apps & Games section of the Play Store.

play store beta apps

There’s now easy access to any beta apps you’ve already installed.

Here you can see which beta programs you’ve joined and uninstall any that may be giving you trouble. You can’t get rid of system apps, of course, so if the Google app or Maps beta is giving you trouble then you might just want to roll back to the stable version.

The story behind the story: Installing beta apps used to be a major pain, as you had to join a Google+ community and then wait for access. A lot has improved since then, and this new section makes it now much easier to actually discover some new ones that may be worth trying out.

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