Per 9to5Google, a new look for the Google Play Store has surfaced and results in the absence of the search bar at the top of the page. This search bar is replaced by a dedicated Search tab at the bottom of the screen. On “X,” leaker AssembleDebug posted a screenshot of the redesigned Play Store app which includes the new Search tab. When you tap on the Search tab, the search field reappears at the top of the screen. If any other tab is opened, with one exception, the search field disappears.
However, some users have ended up with no search field at the top of the screen and no Search tab. If you are in this situation, pressing the Books tab will return a search field to the top of the display. Or, if you like to make things a little harder for yourself, you can tap on a suggested app and then the magnifying glass search icon at the top of the page. This will bring back a search field to the top of the screen.
There is also a long shot ‘Hail Mary’ play that you can attempt but it does have some unintended possible side effects. From your home screen, long-press on the Play Store icon and tap on App info. Press Storage & cache and Clear storage. This may or may not help but keep in mind that deleting your Play Store storage could negatively impact app updates. While this is an option, it might not be worth trying.
A dedicated search tab is coming to the Play Store (L) although some users have lost their search bar and have no search tab (R)
Google is pushing out the Play Store changes through a server-side update and there is no specific version of the Play Store app that is seeing the changes. In addition, not too many Android users have seen the updated version of the Play Store, certainly not my Pixel 6 Pro which is running Android 14 QPR2 Beta 2.
So the zillion-dollar question (it used to be a million dollar question, but inflation, well, you know) is how does this help Play Store users? That’s a good question as Google does have a reputation of making moves just to make a move. It’s not as though Google is using the space where the search field used to be found to add a new feature.
If your Google Play Store app still has the Search bar at the top of the screen, enjoy it now because it soon will be going away.