Finding/Downloading buried apps on Google Play

Just learned something new today that feels like I should have known it for years (probably even did once, but then forgot): did you ever have the “page 99” problem? You know exactly what app you want, how the name is spelled, what the icon looks like, but now matter what you type into the search field, the app in question is always buried on page 99 (or later) in the search results. The answer to this problem, of course, is not to search for the app, but locate it by package name. On the Play website that means fiddling around with URL parameters, in Raccoon, you’d (currently) have to go through the commandline. Neither is particularly user friendly.

Once in a while, I get a feature request, asking if I could add an option to Raccoon to allow searching Play by packagename. In theory, implementing this would be simple (in fact, you can already do this, if you are willing to use the commandline interface – but that’s not suppose to be used for anything but debugging). The tricky part is just figuring out if the user means to search Play by keyword or by packagename. I have been toying around with ideas such as parsing the query string for dot (“.”) characters, only to realize that some apps don’t have a single one in their packagename, while others might have multiple in their display name (so this wouldn’t be reliable). But as it turns out, this isn’t even necessary to begin with, I do not have to code anything at all, Play already allows you to search by packagename. All you need to do is prefix it with “pname:”, e.g.:

If you want one of my more obscure apps.

Posted in Android