Google is working on an enhanced web portal to its Android Market, with plans to make the whole catalogue searchable through a desktop browser and to deliver app purchases wirelessly to the phone.
Yu-Kuan Lin, a Google product manager for Android, confirmed the upcoming enhancements to the current Android Market website, outlining some of the changes in store. The browser-accessible system will let Android owners hunt through all available apps, purchase them where applicable and have the code delivered directly to their phone over the air. The store will tie into a user's Google account and keep track of all the apps you have downloaded and those you have installed.
"We demoed a prototype of a web-based Android Marketplace at Google I/O, where you can see all of your apps and then from there you can find interesting apps and they will get sent over the web, straight to your phone, without you having to worry about it," Lin told CNET Australia.
"We're innovating the market at a very rapid pace, you're going to see a lot of improvements and new features from now on and throughout the rest of the year."
Google first announced the browser view of the Market during its Google I/O conference back in May, in response to growing criticism from users who want more control of their app inventories and better search tools for the Market in general. In its current state, the Android Market hosts nearly 100,000 applications, but its rudimentary search tools make it difficult to identify the truly useful ones.
Similar services already exist via third parties, sites like AppBrain show listings of available apps, including user reviews and screenshots, and can send requests to an Android smartphone to access the Market app and download the new software. AppBrain can also manage installed apps through syncing software on the phone, allowing users to select apps to uninstall through their desktop browser and to make changes the next time they synch their phone with the AppBrain server.
There is also speculation that Google could use the ability to wirelessly push content to phones to deliver music to customers purchased through a future digital music service. Also during Google I/O, the company announced its acquisition of Simplify Media and its software, which streams a user's music from their PC to their mobile phone. This, combined with ongoing rumours about the big names in the music industry urging Google to create an iTunes competitor, suggest music could feature strongly in Android's future, with wireless delivery.