The Windows Phone Marketplace will now be known as Windows Phone Store. A post on the Windows Team Blog announcing the rebranding states that Microsoft has also revamped its Windows Phone website. Microsoft would be rolling out the changes beginning with Australia and New Zealand, with the rest of the world to follow. The rebranding of Windows Phone Marketplace to Windows Phone store has probably been undertaken to streamline the user experience between the Windows 8 Store and Windows Phone Store. The two even share the same Store icon.
The Windows Phone site has been renovated to feature a cleaner design and new menu options. The Marketplace menu option has been replaced by ‘Apps+Games’ to make it easier for new users to know where to download apps from.
Along with the rebranding, the Windows Phone Store also sports a few changes like improved app search, smarter app lists, some censorship to make racier apps less visible, and the ability to report an app.
Changes to the Windows Phone Store
The Windows Phone Store’s app search feature has been overhauled to depend on Microsoft’s Bing search engine for results. App search now finds apps even if you make spelling mistakes or typos — for example, “Facebok” instead of “Facebook” - and it also shows relevant app results for your searches. The search engine now also sorts search results based on genre – for instance, you can type in productivity to see apps related to time management, making lists, etc.
You also have a few additions to the app lists. Marketplace previously divided apps into three categories: New, Free and Top. Windows Phone Store now makes these labels clearer and adds new browsing options to make finding apps easier. Apps are now divided into Top Free, Top Paid, a New+Rising category which takes into consideration how quickly an app is being downloaded; and Best Rated, which ranks apps based on user ratings and actual usage patterns.
The Windows Phone Store’s Spotlight area, which displays new and popular apps chosen by Windows staff, now showcases recently-published apps in a Windows 8-style mosaic.
Microsoft is also aiming to make the Windows Phone Store more family-friendly by making apps with overtly sexual content less visible. The post states that it will not stop carrying racy apps, but will just reduce their visibility to make them less front and centre to casual browsers.
You can now also report apps in the Windows Phone Store. Microsoft has added a ‘Report concern’ link on every app’s download page so that users can report apps that they find offensive or problematic.
The company has also added some other minor changes. When you review an app, for instance, the name shown next to your write up is now the first name you entered for your Microsoft Account.