The Play Store has been in the news more than usual recently, but this time it’s for a positive reason. The latest version of the app reveals that Google is working on a few changes to the “My Apps” section of the Play Store, including the ability for users to send apps to friends offline through the use of peer-to-peer file sharing.
The company first started experimenting with similar app sharing between devices back in 2018. File managers like SHAREit and Files Go were among the first apps to implement support for the feature. A new teardown of the Google Play Store app reveals Google is bringing these kinds of capabilities to its own store. Users will start by selecting an app to share (probably not paid apps, though).
Much like Nearby Share, the Play Store will allow users to select from a list of nearby devices. Once both users open the Play Store and choose to connect to each other, the connection will be set up and app transferred through a combination of Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi Direct.
There’s also a few tweaks to the My Apps section, including renaming the page to “Manage apps & device,” and organizing it into two sections: Overview and Manage. Overview gives a quick picture of apps that need updating, storage capacity, and user reviews and ratings. The Manage tab allows users to see apps in their library and filter by various options such as apps not currently installed and games.
For the most part, the changes are welcome. Those of us who like seeing changelogs may have to prepare our pitchforks, however, because it looks like updates are being buried and will require another tap or two to access.
While P2P app sharing may not be ready to roll out yet, it has the potential to be a great addition that could make Android much more convenient, especially for those of us who live in rural areas without access to speedy Internet for downloading apps. You will still need to have friends, though, for P2P sharing to work.