An update to the Google Play Store is reportedly being tested, in which ads will appear when you open the search bar.
9To5Google (opens in a new tab) found that the company was considering replacing recent history with ads. The change was detected on a device running Play Store version 33.0.17-21.
The current default behavior of the search feature for most users is that, when enabled, the four most recent searches appear as suggestions in the Android app space.
Play Store Ads
For many Android phone users, searching for new apps on the Play Store is not part of their habits. Instead, they head straight to the search bar to find a specific app at the top.
Google may have noticed this and is testing a new change that could significantly increase ad exposure.
Also, search history may not be particularly useful to many users, so from Google's perspective, it would make sense to replace it with something more financially beneficial to the company.
The release could be part of the latest update to the Play Store, version 33.0.17-21, which includes a section on "New features to help you discover the apps and games you love."
Google isn't the only company changing the way ads work in its App Store: Apple's App Store has also recently been updated. Announcements are now displayed in the "Today" tab of the app store, along with suggestions in each app's listing, which are highlighted with an "Announcement" icon on a blue background.