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Google Play now shows ads, events in search history

Ads already appear throughout the Play Store, and Google is now showing them when you start a search, alongside other visual tweaks.

When you tap the Google Play search bar at the top of the app, you previously just saw your last four queries. Now, you might see up to three “limited-time events as well as sponsored suggestions,” with past searches appearing below that.

Limited-time events are an existing tool used to promote streaming apps that might have a particularly interesting sporting match later in the day or in-game events. They often appear as cards in the Play Store’s main feeds. They are now surfaced in search history with app name, icon, rating, and download count.

Additionally, Google Play is also showing “sponsored suggestions” that are explicitly labeled as an “Ad,” though some users would consider limited-timed events to be essentially the same thing. Both types disappear as you start typing your search.

Moving search history further down the list is unfortunate and telling in terms of company priorities. Meanwhile, a small tweak sees more prominent icons next to past queries for easier sorting.

This change was announced in the April Google System Updates changelog and has been rolling out in recent weeks. (We first spotted a variant of it in November 2022.) Google this week also detailed other Play Store additions, including “key app and game highlights from what others are saying” in Play search results.

You can also get “apps and games to download over cellular data from the download notification while waiting for Wi-Fi.”

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