The Google Play Store serves as your gateway to Android applications, books, multi-media, news, and much more. There’s a big update coming that you can get before those molasses-slow updates begin to trickle down to your devices. This new version of the Google Play Store brings plenty of new features, including:

  • Batch install
  • Require password option
  • Settings and help moved to slide out navigation
  • Force Play Store self update
  • In-app purchase warning
  • Google +1 now accurate
  • Numerous minor tweaks

Some of these features/updates do not require explanation, but others do. Let’s take a look at the major highlights.

Batch install

This is a really nice feature. However, if you’re thinking that you’ll be able to hop on over the Google Play Store and batch install any number of apps, you’re on the wrong track. What this feature does is allow you to quickly install any of the apps from your All list on a new device associated with your Google account. Here’s how it works:

  1. After you buy a new Android device, associate the new device with your Google account
  2. On the new device, open the Google Play Store
  3. Tap the overflow menu (three horizontal lines in the top left corner)
  4. Tap My Apps
  5. Tap the All tab
  6. Select all the apps to install by long-pressing the listing until it turns gray (Figure A)
  7. Tap Install
  8. Tap Accept
  9. Allow the installation(s) to complete

Figure A

The new Google Play Store on a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X.

Require password

An in-app purchase (IAP) is simple — you’re using an app, and the developers of the app have another related app that they want you to purchase. Prior to the latest update of the Google Play Store, if that app had a price, it could be purchased without having to enter a password for your Google Play Store account. This was not acceptable, so Google changed it. Now, you can set up the Google Play Store to always require a password for in-app purchases. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Tap the overflow menu
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Scroll down to Require password for purchases
  5. Select For all purchases through Google Play on this device (Figure B)
  6. Enter your Google Play Store password
  7. Tap OK

Figure B

IAPs will now need your permission via password.

Along with this, you’ll now see whether or not the app contains IAPs in the App permissions warning screen (Figure C). That way, you can choose to not install the app based on the new information.

Figure C

You are now warned if an app includes IAPs.

Play Store self update

Strangely enough, the Google Play Store didn’t always update itself (even when a new version was available). The new version fixes that issue. Go to the Google Play Store | Settings and tap Build version. A popup should now appear, indicating that your version of Google Play Store is up to date. Prior to this update, it was hit and miss if Google Play Store would update.

How to get and install the latest version

As of this writing, the newest version of the Google Play Store (4.6.16) isn’t available via update. You can, however, get it. Here’s how:

Note: First, you have to enable Unknown sources on your device. Go to Settings | Security, and tap Unknown sources to enable.

  1. On your device, go to this URL
  2. Click on one of the listed mirrors
  3. Allow the download to complete
  4. Pull down the notification bar
  5. Tap the listing for the download
  6. Tap Install (Figure D)
  7. Tap Done when prompted

Figure D

Side-loading the latest Google Play Store.

If you’re concerned about the security of .apk file, the file is signed by Google. The MD5 checksum is: de29d98de5f239d844abcaef3b18cc93.

Some of the updates in this new version of the Google Play Store are long overdue. Does this update satisfy you, or are there things still missing or further development necessary? What would you change in the Google Play Store to make it perfect for your needs? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.