I don't need Google to tell me that the Android Market is still broken

Even with all of the recent changes to the Android Market, Google knows things could be better. Will in-app purchases and carrier billing be enough or will Amazon.com show Google how things are meant to be done?

There are at least seven apps here that I'd love to filter out. Scott Webster

Google thinks you and I should be paying for more applications from the Android Market.

Speaking recently at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, Android manager Eric Chu admitted that Google was not happy with the number of applications purchased by users. Apparently all of the recent changes to the Android Market haven't been enough to convince people to open their wallets a little wider.

In the future, Chu expects to roll out a few alternative payment methods, hoping that one will catch on with users. Expect the ability make purchases within apps and more carriers offering deferred billing.

Already, AT&T customers are able to have app purchases added to their monthly bills, rather than using Google Checkout. PayPal has been expected to get Market integration for months now, but nothing has materialized.

With in-app purchases, I suspect that this might usher in a host of apps that are free up front, with add-on features costing users. This model could get expensive fast--think cheap razors and costly blades and you get the picture.

Don't get me wrong here, I think the Market is considerably better than it was just six months ago. Looking back to when it launched with the T-Mobile G1, it was a bare-bones, pitiful repository compared with today's model.

However, as much as I love the bigger descriptions, additional screenshots , and revised layout, I am still anxiously awaiting an Internet-based model, content ratings , and YouTube integration.

To its credit, Google is looking at finding better ways to help users discover applications. Look for revisions to rankings of apps, better recommendation models, and more over the course of 2011. That said, the Amazon.com app store is bearing down on us pretty quickly and it stands as good a chance as anyone of helping to shake things up. If it's simply a matter of discovery and recommendation, then Amazon will own this space.

There are others as well. GetJar has been quietly pumping out exclusive releases of quality Android apps for a while now. Every time you turn around we find another service starting up, promising features that are absent from the Market. While each has its own unique benefits and selling points, most of them have a common drawback in overall footprint.

For all the complaining we've done over two years, the Android Market is still the way to go for apps, but as it stands today, Android users are now finding themselves drowning in a sea of apps, wondering which way to turn. It's almost intimidating to just open the market and browse. I've long held the position that Google should place a filtering system in the Market. Giving users the power to hide a developer from view could go a long way.

Here's an example you can try for yourself. Navigate to any subcategory you like in the Android Market and look at the "Just In" titles. Imagine being able to hide all those cookie cutter apps, soundboards, and otherwise junky applications. Sadly, there is a small handful of developers cluttering things up with hundreds of apps, if not more.

The truth is things have come a long way, but they need to go much further. I am all for the model that Google has in place, providing the company listens to the users. We don't have many demands, but we are specific about them. Let's hope they're not falling on deaf ears.

What's holding you back from paying for more apps? Is it that you simply don't see enough quality selection? Maybe it's the method of paying. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter.

 

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