Google Play speeds up instant gratification

Let's compare Google Play redesign to the D.C. Public Library's design

Google has released what it calls a "fresh look" for Google Play, with a goal of making a purchase quick and easy.

The company said that, over a period of several weeks, it will be rolling out a mobile user interface that features larger art and images "that jump off the page." The interface will have bars that make use of color-coded icons to aid in navigation, and it will offer recommendations that "continue to appear."

Google doesn't say how it is simplifying check-out except that it plans to "breeze" it. This was announced Tuesday on the official Android blog.

What is Google trying to do here? It wants to speed instant gratification. If big art, intuitive navigation and perhaps one-click checkout make that easier, then this might be a success.

Buying things is good. It spurs the economy. But libraries are good, and they were spreading knowledge long before Google. Libraries, too, are making it easier to find things, and they're entering the instant gratification business as well.

Let's compare then Google's new interface with the D.C. Public Library Web page and what do we find? Note on the right hand side of the library's Web page are colored navigation bars, vertically placed, not unlike the horizontal arrangement favored by Google.

The library also strives for larger art and a rotating display of interesting things. Although the library has enough data about its users to make personalized recommendations, it doesn't do that and instead offers a continually changing series of general recommendations of "hot" things.

Like Google, the library has e-books, but they are uniformly free to check out. The library puts a little box promoting its e-book offerings in a hard-to-miss place -- the upper right-hand corner.

Checkout at the library is a breeze. The D.C. Public Library even has self-checkout. No credit or debit card needed unless you're returning something that's overdue.

google play
The new Google Play interface.
DC library Google play interface
The Washington D.C. Public Library website.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His email address is

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