New feature reveals whether your Android phone sports the latest version of the Google Play Store

New feature reveals whether your Android phone sports the latest version of the Google Play Store
It could just be that this writer is in the minority, but yours truly always preferred calling the Android app storefront the Android Market instead of the Google Play Store. The change was made in March 2012 as Google sought to unify the Android Market and Google in one brand. Just two years before the name switch, the Android Market contained just 30,000 apps, up from 10,000 in September 2010 and 16,000 in December 2010.

Perhaps you remember the original Android Market icon which was a white shopping bag with the green Android bug on the front. When Google changed the name to the Play Store it created a new icon that resembles the triangular play icon found on many apps including Google's own YouTube and YouTube Music.

Server Side update allows Android users to quickly check for an update to the Google Play Store

19 months later, the Android Market was home to half a million apps and Android was on its way to becoming the most popular mobile operating system on the planet. At last count, there are over 2.5 million apps in the Google Play Store.

9to5Google reports that coming to the Google Play Store via a server-side update is a new quick and easy way to make sure that your Android phone is running the latest version of the Play Store. Simply open the app and tap on the profile picture on the right side of the search bar at the top of the screen. From there, tap on Settings > About and when you scroll down toward the bottom of the display, you'll see the words "Update Play Store" in green text.

Tap on that link and if your version of the Play Store is the most recent available, you'll get a message that says "Google Play Store is up to date." If you need to update the app, you will be given that opportunity. While not all Android or even Pixel users have received this update, we see it (as you can tell from the image that we've included with this article) on our ancient Pixel 2 XL running Android 11.

Apple iPhone users spend much more on apps than Android users do

Before adding this feature, tapping on the version number from the About screen would check to see if your Android phone was sitting on an update for the Play Store. The problem is that unless you knew about this, there would be no reason for you or anyone to tap on the version number on the About screen. We should point out that the newly added link has been placed right underneath the Play Store version number.

By July 2013, the Play Store hit one million apps overtaking the 900,000 listed in the App Store for the first time. As of last month, approximately 71% of smartphones used worldwide run Android with 29% powered by iOS. Despite this huge advantage, revenue of the Play Store always falls well short of the amount spent on iOS.

One theory is that in developing economies like India, the world's second-largest smartphone market, lower priced Android models are in demand. And in regions like India, many Android phone buyers are not financially equipped to spend much money on apps. Or to look at it another way, those able to afford to buy a new iPhone are most likely able to spend money on the purchase of iOS apps from the App Store.

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Because this is a server-side update, Android users don't have to worry about manually updating the Google Play App. Just keep an eye out for the new link and eventually you should find it in the Play Store app on your Android phone. In case you were wondering, the version of the Play Store on our Pixel 2 XL, which does include the new feature, is 28.2.10-21.

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