Google Play Store Now Shows Targeted App Ads in Search Recommendations

The Google Play Store has been recommending apps for quite some time now, but in spite of the fact that this is the case these ads were mostly limited to the scrolling carousel rather than in any other targeted areas. It turns out that the Play Store has gradually been included targeted promos for specific apps in search recommendations, and that could indicate a shift in how Google is handling ads on its platform with all things having been considered and taken into account.

The search bar on the Google Play Store is the first thing that people tap when they visit the store because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing them to search for the apps they desire. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that it’s not just the most recently searched apps that they would now see when they tap on the search bar.

Rather, they are often shown an add for an app. Google is insisting that these ads are not paid promotions but rather organic recommendations, but it is interesting to see the search history getting replaced by ad promos. That can give these ads more of an unfair boost than might have been the case otherwise. While the promos do go away after you type something out, getting quickly replaced by the aforementioned search history, their initial presence does not bode well for the future of the Play Store.

It is possible that Google is currently testing out a new recommendation feature, but it would be hard for many users to believe that their searches won’t be manipulated to some extent in the future. Google needs to be more transparent about its ad policies, otherwise users would not be able to trust the recommendations that they are receiving.

The algorithm definitely needs some tweaking, and Google will have to shed some light on how these recommendations came about in the first place. Until that happens, user trust will be hard for Google to come by.

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