Google Play Store review: the best app for apps?

Google Play Store review: the best app for apps?
Juliet Childers

Juliet Childers

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The Google Play Store has to be one of the most well-known digital storefronts. It is to mobile apps what Steam is to video games. But that doesn’t mean that it offers the best digital app storefront experience you can have on a mobile device.

Let’s explore the features and limitations of the Google Play Store, as well as its main competitors.

What is the Google Play Store?

Google uses the Google Play Store to offer digital content to users. This could be a gaming application like PUBG Mobile, the Spotify app for music, or another Google app like Google Docs. It now encompasses books, music, games, movies, and function-oriented apps. User ratings and reviews offer insight into features, reliability, and usability of apps, as well.

Note: it does NOT come pre-installed on all Android devices, but it does come pre-installed on Google devices.

image of the Google Play Store UI

Main features of the Google Play Store

Google has tweaked the app store’s UI over the years to enhance user experience and declutter the screen. Its latest visual refresh came in 2019 to promote faster browsing and more efficient searching.

Users will find a search bar at the top but can search categories located at the bottom of the screen. They can also access user-specific tabs at the top left using the three horizontal lines icon.

How to use the Google Play Store

Using this app requires a Google account and offers the option to tie in your Google Pay financial information. This may not sit well with everyone as it means that Google has access to whatever app data you might accrue.

To use the store, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the native digital storefront app you have on your mobile device.
  2. Search for “Google Play Store”.
  3. Download the app.
  4. Login to your Google Account and set up your profile.
image of app store logos

Google Play Store alternatives

Though it might not seem like it, there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to Google programs and offerings. This rings just as true for the Play Store as with other options.

Interested in finding the best app store apps for Android and Apple? Let’s compare some of the top competitors to see how they stack up.

Samsung Galaxy Apps

This program comes pre-loaded on most Samsung devices and is Samsung’s official mobile app store. As with its Google counterpart, people can use the app to search for and download Android games and apps. The big plus here is that you do not need a Google account to do that. However, you do need a Samsung account instead.

Since Samsung Galaxy Apps is designed for Galaxy products, it works best with those items. But overall, the interface is easy to use and similar to Google’s.

Mac App Store

The Mac App Store is Apple’s official retail app that directly competes with the likes of Google and Samsung’s alternatives. However, it offers Apple-exclusive content and apps, as well as ringtones and other items.

Similarly, it requires an Apple account to use and works best with the hardware for which it was designed (Apple products). It offers quick installations, but the UI can be a bit overwhelming at times compared to the Google Play Store.


This third-party app storefront serves Android devices and competes directly with the Google Play Store. The community-driven, open-source software makes it easy for users to upload apps, as well as create and manage a store.

As it is community-driven, Aptoide relies heavily on input from its users. It awards green badges to the most trusted apps among more than one million options. It’s a fantastic alternative to the Google Play Store.

It offers a straightforward UI, quick downloads, and filters to make searching easier. Aptoid also provides a safer third-party alternative vs. other options such as 9Apps.

Amazon Appstore

That’s right: Amazon has its own app store, too. Its primary purpose is to serve games, ebooks, and apps for Kindle and Kindle Fire users. Amazon’s secret here is that the app relies on Android for its operating system. As such, it works best on Android devices.

The big difference here is the number of apps available to users. Amazon’s app store offers far fewer programs than Google’s does. If you want lots of options and diversity, this is not competitive with the Google Play Store.

image of the Google Play Store image and other Google icons

Expert review verdict

For people with Google-branded mobile devices such as Pixels and Android-based devices, the Google Play Store makes a fantastic option to connect with all the apps you need in life. However, if you aren’t comfortable with Google gathering data on your app usage and habits, you may opt for a different digital app storefront.

Download the Google Play Store program for yourself to see if you prefer it over other digital app storefronts.


  • Allows access to millions of apps and media options
  • Quick downloads most of the time
  • Works on Android devices
  • Sleek, intuitive UI


  • Requires a Google account
  • Allows Google to gather data on your habits
  • Not native to many Android devices
  • Not available to Apple device users

Developer: Google

Publisher: Google

Top features: Connects users with apps, movies, books, music, and more

Platform reviewed: Android device

Juliet Childers

Juliet Childers

Juliet Childers is an avid reader, writer, editor, and gamer based in Texas. She attended the University of Houston where she majored in Creative Writing with a business minor. She works mainly as a freelance writer, editor, SEO specialist, and proofreader. Her beat: video games, tech, and pop culture.

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