Google likes to tweak the Play Store on Android fairly regularly and the latest update has begun rolling out, and though there’s no feature updates included, the underlying code shows some interesting sharing options under the hood.
Android Police has performed their trademark ‘APK Teardown’ on the Play Store APK – which you can grab here – and it shows that a Family Sharing option and gifting options are possibly coming to Google Play as well.
The Family Music plan announced by Google at I/O in May is likely the catalyst for the introduction of the first feature found – Family Grouping, which lets you setup a family group, adding and removing members as you see fit.
The unannounced feature is a Family Sharing option which appears to use the family grouping to allow those members of a family group the option to use a shared, linked credit card, or continue using their own. The theory is that this would be perfect for child accounts, with users linked to the shared card having to ask for permission from the controller of the account to make purchases – no more IAP surprises from the kids.
There are some strings which could indicate a possible expansion of the Family Music plan to other media content from Google Play – a ‘Family Library’ setting is listed, but it seems to be early days yet.
An expansion of Google Play gifting also seems to be in the works as well with an option to send Google Play gifts to family or friends hidden in the code. Presumably you’ll be able to select a book, app, game, song/album or even TV shows or movies and gift them as you see fit – an easy way to encourage someone to watch that new show you’re raving about.
Lastly it appears Google is working on a way to easily implement NFC based Credit Cards into your account for those times when OCR fails.