Android users see Google Play for just what it is, a marketplace for apps. It would be nice to be able to browse and install apps without an internet connection but there are several things that not only prevent it from working in offline mode but also demonstrate why it is not possible. The first step is to understand what example is that makes Google Play exactly what it is today.
Understanding What Google Play Really Is
For the regular user Google Play is a marketplace or a place where apps can be found and downloaded. For everyone else it is a collection of links to the APK file stored on Google servers. This means that none of the apps listed in Google Play when a user opens it on his phone are stored locally. Everything that is shown on the screen is taken off the internet or more specifically from the Google Play servers.
As we all know there are apps that require 1 GB or more to be downloaded when they are installed. That is a lot of storage space and there are thousands of applications that are this big. Having them available in offline mode is the app store is impossible.
How Google Play Could Get An Offline Version
The database that holds all the app information is huge. We are talking about millions of app descriptions, ratings, pictures, videos. Even just having all this information stored locally on the phone could mean tens of gigabytes of data and as we all know, internal storage is limited.
What could be done is to have the descriptions downloaded only for the most popular apps according to their ratings and downloads. These apps could be compressed and downloaded onto the phone so that they could be accessible when the user browsers the Play Store without an internet connection.
There is a downside to this as new developers or apps that are not popular yet but their quality is top notch will not get noticed since they are not available in offline mode.
No Way To Get Around It
Sadly there is no possible way to open the Google Play Store without an internet connection. Everything that can be said above about having some data available offline will still not work since the Play Store needs to verify the user credentials. Every time someone opens the store the very first thing that the app does is to login to the servers using the locally stored Google account. If an internet connection is not available the app will return an error prompting the user to check his connectivity. There is no way to bypass this.
The reason why the Play Store does that is to sync the account with other devices that might have other apps installed, check for updates and create a profile of the user that would help improve their search. Data such as current apps installed, interests, previous searches and even app usage habits help Google know what the user is into and sort the search results or suggestions in such a way that they are relevant for that particular person. What this means that what a person sees when performing a search can be completely different than what a different person can see while performing the exact same search.
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