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Google Play update adds password protection for in-app purchases

Major update also brings Bulk Install, user interface tweaks
Fri Mar 14 2014, 15:44
Google Play Music All Access provides unlimited music streaming for a little under ten pounds

ANDROID USERS are getting an update to the Google Play store, the first in several months, and it's a big one.

Although cosmetically little has changed, there are a number of new features that users have requested. We've had a play with version Google Play store 4.6.16, and here's what we found.

Bulk Install allows users to multi-select apps in the My Apps section to install together, while the existing Bulk Delete feature, which allows users to delete apps from their list that they never intend to use again, has fixed an annoying bug that previously made the list jump back to the top after an action.

Bulk Install is particularly useful for the first time using a new device or after a factory reset or, if you're a modder, after you've flashed a new ROM.

Elsewhere, the Settings and Help menus have been moved to the pullout side bar alongside My Apps, and the Add Auto-widget option has been renamed to a more helpful Add Icon To Homescreen.

Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the introduction of password protection for in-app purchases. This option has been available to users of the Amazon Appstore from the outset, but with the recent outcry over children running up huge bills on games like Candy Crush Saga and Simpsons Tapped Out, this change will be a welcome one for parents everywhere. This week Google was slapped with a lawsuit in the US for failure to protect children from in-app purchases, and Apple also released a similar feature in its iOS 7.1 release.

Elsewhere the are some almost unnoticeable user interface tweaks. Frustratingly, there's still no sign of the Not Installed list that was available in early versions of the app and allowed you to see previous purchases. Perhaps Google wants us to forget.

Finally, there is the option tucked away in the settings to check whether you have the most recent version of the Play store, so you no longer have to guess whether Google's servers have forgotten you or not.

The Google Play store recently celebrated its second birthday with a set of underwhelming offers, but for many this updated version of the store will be a better gift. µ

 

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