Apart from searching for content by name, apps can also be searched through keywords provided by the developer. When searching for apps, users can press on suggested search filters, helping them to find apps matching the determined filters. For the discoverability of apps, Google Play Store consists of lists featuring top apps in each category, including "Top Free", a list of the most popular free apps of all time; "Top Paid", a list of the most popular paid apps of all time; "Top Grossing", a list of apps generating the highest amounts of revenue; "Trending Apps", a list of apps with recent installation growth; "Top New Free", a list of the most popular new free apps; "Top New Paid", a list of the most popular new paid apps; "Featured", a list of new apps selected by the Google Play team; "Staff Picks", a frequently-updated list of apps selected by the Google Play team; "Editors' Choice", a list of apps considered the best of all time; and "Top Developer", a list of apps made by developers considered the best. In March 2017, Google added a "Free App of the Week" section, offering one normally-paid app for free. In July 2017, Google expanded its "Editors' Choice" section to feature curated lists of apps deemed to provide good Android experiences within overall themes, such as fitness, video calling and puzzle games.
Google states in its Developer Policy Center that "Google Play supports a variety of monetization strategies to benefit developers and users, including paid distribution, in-app products, subscriptions, and ad-based models", and requires developers to comply with the policies in order to "ensure the best user experience". It requires that developers charging for apps and downloads through Google Play must use Google Play's payment system. In-app purchases unlocking additional app functionality must also use the Google Play payment system, except in cases where the purchase "is solely for physical products" or "is for digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g. songs that can be played on other music players)." Support for paid applications was introduced on February 13, 2009, for developers in the United States and the United Kingdom, with support expanded to an additional 29 countries on September 30, 2010. The in-app billing system was originally introduced in March 2011. All developers on Google Play are required to feature a physical address on the app's page in Google Play, a requirement established in September 2014.
In 2012, Google began decoupling certain aspects of its Android operating system (particularly its core applications) so they could be updated through the Google Play store independently of the OS. One of those components, Google Play Services, is a closed-source system-level process providing APIs for Google services, installed automatically on nearly all devices running Android 2.2 "Froyo" and higher. With these changes, Google can add new system functionality through Play Services and update apps without having to distribute an upgrade to the operating system itself. As a result, Android 4.2 and 4.3 "Jelly Bean" contained relatively fewer user-facing changes, focusing more on minor changes and platform improvements.
All of the app stores have tons of choices for kids and families, and finding the best stuff can be a real challenge. Families with Android devices have to sort through sections of the Google Play store for something their kids will like, but we've hand-picked favorites including puzzle games, creativity tools, and even math apps. While not all of these apps are designed with education in mind, many of them have learning potential -- especially if you talk with your kid about their app experience. Better yet, take a minute and let them show you the highlights! If you're looking for more educational apps, try some of these free titles. Or if you want to find apps that target a specific subject or skill, take a peek at some of our other lists!
For a more open approach to apps, one of the best alternatives is F-droid. The entire site and app store is run by volunteers and relies on donations. It only allows free apps and has a policy of not pushing apps that include paid add-ons or adverts. 2b1af7f3a8