Google Considers New App Trial Technology For Android

Google spends enormous resources every year to improve the features of its Android mobile operating software. But one of Android’s key services, the Google Play app store, hasn’t kept up.

It looks much the same as it did more than a year ago and faces challenges in helping people find the right apps and getting them to spend money on apps and media. That, in turn, has made it harder for Google to generate more revenue from the app store and do battle against Apple’s App Store to attract interest among some mobile app developers.

Now Google is considering ways to let consumers try out new apps without downloading them in full, something that could save people time and data-usage on their mobile phone plans as well as lead to more downloads, according to a person involved in the discussions about the technology. The approach could be especially useful in developing countries where people have less money to spend on app downloads using their mobile connection.

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Google this summer acquired Songza, which makes music recommendations based on time of day and what activity a person is doing. It plans to integrate that technology with other products, including Google Play.

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Google tried to make Play more “social” by integrating data from people’s Google+ accounts, but few people have enough Google+ profile information or activity to make the integration meaningful.