Google makes over Android Market to simplify app discovery

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SAN FRANCISCO--With its Android Market storefront now exceeding 200,000 applications, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) introduced a series of app discovery enhancements here at its annual I/O developer conference, promising consumers new options to more quickly and easily find what they're looking for. Chief among the changes (available now on the web and expanding soon to smartphones and tablets): Revised top app charts touting more current and relevant results specific to each user's country of origin. The revamped Android Market homepage also boasts top new free, top new paid and top grossing lists.

In addition, the Android Market makeover emphasizes app quality: A new Editor's Choice feature spotlights staff recommendations across multiple categories, while the new Top Developers designation awards a special icon to developers creating the highest-quality, most popular apps. (The first class of Top Developers honorees includes over 150 programmers.) Also new: Improved related apps recommendations indicating apps frequently browsed by people who viewed a particular app and apps that people tend to install alongside that solution, as well as an emphasis on trending apps, i.e., apps quickly growing in daily install volume.

Fewer than three years after launching the Android mobile operating system, Google has now activated more than 100 million Android devices worldwide and adds 400,000 new activations every day, up from 100,000 daily activations a year ago. Speaking Tuesday at I/O, Director of Android Product Management Hugo Barra stated there are presently 310 Android devices in all--36 OEMs are manufacturing Android products, available across 215 operator networks spanning 112 countries. Barra also said that Android Market now exceeds 200,000 applications--consumers have installed more than 4.5 billion Android apps, averaging 1 billion app downloads every 60 days.

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