Understand how search works in Google Play

You can discover apps on Google Play across devices in several ways:

  • Search for an app or type of app
  • Browse the home page and other pages
  • Browse editorial selections made by the Google Play team
  • Read an app’s detail page

To help you find apps you’ll have a good experience with, Google Play aims to show you the most relevant results. We first show high-quality apps that many people might use.

We consider multiple factors to decide which apps show when you search. We are always working to improve the discovery experience and how we rank apps on Google Play.

How Google Play search results work

Google Play uses details about apps to decide which ones show up when you search. For example, we use details provided by the app developer, such as:

  • App title
  • Description
  • Category
  • Images
  • App content
  • Functionality

We also use details like:

  • App characteristics (for instance, if the app is a multiplayer or single player game)
  • User feedback (such as ratings, reviews, and engagement)

How we organize and rank apps in Google Play

To make it easy for you to find apps, we choose which apps show on a page, how many apps show, and how they appear. We consider many factors when we organize apps, including:

  • Relevance: We show apps that are relevant to the page you’re on or what you searched.
  • Quality of the app experience: We show apps that have a good in-app user experience.
  • Editorial value: We curate recommendations based on what’s noteworthy and interesting.
  • Ads: When developers advertise their apps, we make sure the ads are well marked.
  • User experience: We show apps that perform well in the Play Store and that users continue to enjoy after installation.

These factors are weighted differently depending on your device, your preferences, and where you’re looking in Google Play. For example, apps shown in Google Play search prioritize relevance, engagement, and quality, and the influence of these three factors varies based on the type of search.

Learn what we consider when organizing apps

Relevance

We show you the most relevant apps first. To determine an app’s relevance, we consider:

  • What device you’re using. We recommend apps that are available and work well on your device.
  • Your location. We only recommend apps that are available in your country/region.
  • The page you’re on. For example, when you visit the “Kids” tab, we recommend apps for kids.
  • What you searched for. We use the words in your search and synonyms to determine if you’re looking for a specific app or a type of app (such as “racing games”). Then we use data and other signals about apps to determine which ones best meet your search.
    • When your search is narrow, like the name of an app, we try to show that app.
    • When your search is broader, like a search for “photo editing,” we show multiple apps. We use the other factors described here to show ones we think you’ll have a good experience with. We may also show suggestions from Play Books.
  • The app’s relevance to a broad audience. For apps with a narrow audience, we may only show the app if we’re confident it’s what you’re looking for.

We may also personalize your results after your search. For more info about how Google personalizes its services and privacy controls, go to the Google Privacy Policy.

App experience

We show you high-quality apps that perform well and give you a good user experience. To evaluate an app’s experience, we consider:

  • The experience within the app itself
  • Its appearance in the Play Store, such as the app’s icon, title, screenshots, videos, description, and links
  • The customer support the developer provides
  • The app’s visual design and user interaction patterns
  • The ads experience inside the app (if applicable)
  • If the app provides the expected functional behavior, content, and features
  • If the app provides the expected compatibility, performance, stability, and responsiveness

Suggested searches

To help you find apps, we suggest search terms that will give you good results.

Before you start to type, suggestions are based on your recent search history in the Play Store.

As you type, we offer search suggestions to help you search effectively. These suggestions are based on search query patterns of all of Google Play’s users.

Ads

Developers can pay for their app to show in clearly marked sections of Google Play through advertising. Ads are always marked with a label like “Ads” or “Sponsored.”

Other factors

In addition to the factors described here, we consider:

  • Mature content: Google Play may filter out mature apps from non-mature search queries.
  • Standards review: Some searches may show results that are specific to your location and have been reviewed for certain standards. For example, for searches containing “Covid 19,” “coronavirus,” and other related keywords, the app’s content is vetted in concert with Trust & Safety and Global Affairs & Public Policy and partner governments and non-governmental organizations around the globe.

Understand searches in Play Books

How searches work for Play Books

Google Play uses details about ebooks and audiobooks to decide which ones show up when you search. For example, we use details from the publisher, such as:

  • The name of the book
  • The language in which the book is published
  • Maturity scores
  • Genre
  • Content of the book

We also use details like:

  • Format (for instance, audiobook or ebook)
  • Book characteristics
  • User feedback (such as ratings and reviews)

How we organize and rank books

To make it easy for you to find books, we choose which books show on a page, how many books show, and how they appear. We consider many factors when we organize books, including:

  • Relevance: We show books that are relevant to the page you’re on or what you searched.
  • Quality of the title: We show books that have high-quality content and get good feedback from other users.
  • Editorial value: We curate recommendations based on what’s noteworthy and interesting.
  • Ads: When publishers advertise their books on Google Play, we make sure the ads are well marked.
  • User experience: We show books that users have a good experience with.
  • Series: For book series, we group titles in the series together. The order might change based on what you searched. Books in a series are also grouped by format.
  • Genre groups: When you search for a genre, we group results based on popularity, novelty, or sub-genre

Manage your personalization settings

To turn off personalization using order history and Google activity:

  1. Sign in to your Google Account.
  2. Go to Activity controls.
  3. Turn off Web & App Activity.


To find and delete past activity, and remove from personalization:

  1. Sign in to your Google Account.
  2. Go to Activity controls.
  3. Go to Manage activity.

For more detailed information, read Delete your activity.

Tip: If you delete past activity, it may impact your experience in other Google services like Google Search and Google Assistant. You can always turn your Web & App Activity setting back on, delete it, or change your settings at account.google.com.

Learn more about Web & App Activity.

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