It is no secret that major tech companies, including Google, rely heavily on advertising to generate a large portion of their revenue. In-app advertising is a norm and is the way for apps to earn their dues. While this was a norm for third-party apps, now Google has also joined the in-app advertising bandwagon.
According to a new report, Google is now testing to show advertised apps directly in the Play Store search. Normally, when you tap on the search field on the Google Play Store, it immediately opens the keyboard and shows you the four most recent searches. But folks at 9To5Google say that clicking on the search field on the Google Play Store app version 33.0.17-21 showed them three apps that they hadn't searched for or interacted with.
All the advertised apps were games, complete with their icons. The games are Summoners War: Chronicles, Call of Duty Mobile Season 10, and Fishdom Solitaire. Moreover, the previous searches appear only after you have typed a letter in the search field using the keyboard. The past queries will appear first, followed by the autocomplete suggestions.
There is no clarity if these apps are paid to appear in the Google Play Store search field or whether they are suggestions. Interestingly, the apps that appear in the search field do not appear on the Game tab in the ad-supported “Suggested for you” carousel.
The latest November Play System update did include “[Phone] New formats for search results” and “New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.” in the changelog. So, the new Google Play Store search field change might have something to do with this. It is unclear how many users are seeing this change in the Google Play Store search field.