Early Access is a concept in the gaming world that has changed the way the independent development industry works. Users pay for a game that’s a work-in-progress ahead of time. This gives the developers incentive, ability, and capital to get the game polished enough for an eventual stable release without them having to first wait for some investment from the first interested soul with a wad of cash.
It’s great — it’s like Kickstarter, except you actually get the product you’re looking to support the moment you pay. Well, that same concept is coming to Android. Google plans to create an Early Access section in Google Play solely for apps and games which are still in beta.
Google’s editors will curate the goods in that section to highlight the best ones. Their goal is to get people using some of the best cutting edge stuff on the horizon, something that in turn gives developers incentive to create the best work they can. It’s a win-win for both sides.
More than that, though, Google is looking to bring Zagat-like recommendations to Google Play. In music, they curate tracks by mood, activity, genre or time of day.
For apps, they’ll get you setup with apps to help you with specific activities. Their first example was house buying — looking at the Trulia app would bring up recommendations for other house search apps, note taking apps, apps that help you learn about the area, and more.
Google says these recommendations are automatically chosen based on some sort of algorithm, so developers don’t need to do anything special to have their apps highlighted except make the app as good as it can be. App discovery is becoming increasingly more important as tons more apps rush into the Google Play Store, and it sounds like Google is on a pretty effective track to keep up.