Update: Here’s Joe Hindy’s quick impressions of Google Play Store 5.0:
Google promised that its apps would receive Material-inspired updates to go with Android L, and Play Store is the latest to get a Material facelift.
Version 5.0 of the Play Store brings lots of visual changes, as well as smaller changes to the functionality of the app.
The most striking new element is the use of bright, bold colors from the Material palette throughout the app, from the labels for the media categories (apps, movies, etc.) to the header menu and the various sub-categories. The color of each media category carries over to its interface, so the Music section, for instance, features an orange color scheme, while Books is blue, and so on. Everything is flatter overall, with no visual delimitation between menu items; Google also abandoned its “folding crease” motif, in favor of an all-flat esthetic.
Another big change is the new “hamburger” button, which is bigger, spaced off from the left edge, and no longer has a category icon. Clicking on it opens up the side menu, and the icons turns into a back arrow with a smooth little animation. The side menu is different as well – the top options now feature gray system icons, while the bottom options (which had icons before) are now just plain non-capitalized text.
Moving on to the app view, the What’s New section was relocated at the top of the interface, from its original place at the bottom of the pile. Clicking on it expands it, and also displays info such as version number, last update date, size, and developer name and contact info. Having this info – especially the “what’s new” part – at the top makes more sense than having it buried below everything else.
Finally, one small, but important change is the refresh of the Play Store icon, which is now flatter and less three-dimensional, though it lacks the hard 45-degree shadow we’ve seen on other updated Google icons. For a trip back memory lane, Kirill Grouchnikov, one of the engineers in Google’s Play team, shared this graphic:
Play Store 5.0 will automatically hit your device in the coming hours or days, though with over a billion devices to update, you may have a lot to wait. You can try to speed up the update by tapping on the version number in Settings, though tapping repeatedly won’t trigger an update. If patience isn’t your forte, the folks over at Gapps Early have the Play Store apk file for download.