Google may be gearing up to launch a reward system aimed at getting customers to make all their purchases via the Google Play Store.
According to a report in Android Authority citing a teardown of the Play Store by 9to5Google, it appears Google is gearing up to offer a loyalty program, given there are a lot of mentions of Play Points in the teardowns of versions of 11.5 and 11.6 of the Play Store APK. Google hasn’t announced or confirmed to Android Authority that there are any loyalty programs coming up with the Play Store. In addition to the mentions of Play Points, the opt-in rewards system implies users get points for making purchases via the PlayStore. The teardown shows through another string of code that users “Earn 1 point per ¥100 on everything you buy.” Over time the points add up and enable customers to move up the rankings, which have various levels. The report noted it looks like users will be able to make in-app purchases with the Play Points or cash them in for credit that can be used in the Play Store.
The report noted that other changes coming to the Play Store app could include a voting system with a string of code including a dialog that asks users to vote for their favorite apps. Another change is an overhauled account page that appears to offer different options within a menu in a tab system rather than a list. The rewards section has been added as part of the overhaul, noted the report.
The revamped Google Play Store comes as competition between it and the App Store is heating up. In April the Apple App Store endured its first ever contraction in 2017 — dropping from 2.2 million published iOS apps in the beginning of the year to 2.1 million by year-end. The news came from a new report from Appfigures. The App Store’s contraction was paired with the Google Play stores’ expansion — in 2017, it reportedly grew 30 percent to around 3.6 million apps. The drop-off, according to Appfigures, comes as a result of a few issues. Apple has begun pushing for stricter enforcement of app guidelines — meaning more apps were categorized as spam and removed. There were also technical changes to the App Store that required developers to adopt 64-bit architecture.