Google has transformed Android search for apps and now displays the results in a pictorial, grid-like fashion. For instance, searching for “music apps” (either in Now or a browser) brings up the above grid, and clicking on a given app will take you straight to Google Play, as you’d expect. The feature, spotted by Android Police, appears to have rolled out over the last few days. Regular search results are still displayed below, but the grid images take up the entire first page, in much the same way as Google’s Knowledge Graph. It only works on Android, so far — doing a similar search on iOS yields a regular app list with the option to install.
Google has mixed feelings about Android app discovery, having recently published a study decrying full-page, “interstitial” app ads. However, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelmancriticized its methods, saying “Google’s Web search team has a conflict of interest… (when) you download the Yelp app, you’re less likely to do another search for a local business on Google.” As for the new app search grid, the results I checked showed a good mix of results, but if there’s a Google app in a given category, it does seem to come up first.