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2/4/2011
10:59 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Review: Android Market Web Store

InformationWeek takes Google's new web-based Android Market for a whirl. How does it measure up?

InformationWeek takes Google's new web-based Android Market for a whirl. How does it measure up?Google this week launched a new version of the Android Market that is accessible from any desktop web browser. For the first time, it offers users a less cumbersome way to search for applications. Rather than pecking out search queries on Android smartphones, users can instead search the web store and push apps discovered there over-the-air to their smarpthones.

The top portion of the web store displays a rotating set of featured applications -- much like the iPhone App Store does. On the left side of the store, apps are broken down into two main categories: Games and Applications.

Under the Games heading, Google breaks down games by type, such as arcade, puzzles or sports games. Clicking on the Games heading takes you to a clean landing page with the top paid and top free games displayed. You still have access to the game categories. Pick one, and click "more" to see the full selection.

Apps are shown in a grid with only 12 to a page. With only 12 apps visible, you have to do a lot of clicking to browse through the entire listing. I would prefer them to all be on one page, or fewer pages that are longer. Scrolling is better than clicking, in my book.

The Application heading behaves exactly the same, though there are far more sub-categories from which to choose.

At the bottom of the page is a link that takes you to your Android Market account. Your Market account is attached to your Gmail account. If you're not signed into Google services, it will ask you to sign in before you can see your account. Once you're in, it has a record of every application you've downloaded, and lists the date it was downloaded. You can click on the apps listed there if you want to remind yourself of what that app does. You can also use the settings tool to see where the apps (i.e., onto which phone) have been downloaded. It doesn't appear possible to delete apps.

Using the store is great for pushing apps directly to your handset. After browsing or searching, hit the "Install" button and the Market automatically delivers the application to your phone. I have multiple Android handsets on hand, and when I chose to install an app, the Market sent the application to all of them.

It's not perfect, but in general it is a handy tool to have for finding new Android apps.

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