Tag Archives: Play Console

Make stronger decisions with new Google Play Console data

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play

At this year’s Google I/O, we announced a slate of new features to help you take your business further with Google Play. Launching today, these changes include several improvements designed to help you make better decisions about your business by providing clearer, more actionable data.

We know the right data is critical to help you improve your app performance and grow your business. That’s why we’re excited to share a major update that enables you to better measure and analyse your core statistics — the most fundamental install and uninstall metrics by user and device. We’ve also enhanced the Statistics page on the Play Console to show change over time, enable more granular configurations, and, coming soon, exclusive benchmarks for core stats!

Statistics page on the Play Console

More granular configurations are now available on the Statistics page to help you better understand your acquisition and churn.

More accurate and more expansive than before, the new metrics will help you better understand your acquisition and churn. For the first time, we are including data on returning users and devices - something that we understand is critical to many developers' growth strategies.

We’re also including new install methods (such as pre-installs and peer-to-peer sharing) and the ability to aggregate and dedupe over periods that suit your business needs. With these new updates, you can perform analyses that weren’t possible before, such as how many people re-installed your app last month.

Here’s what else is new:

  • Clearer, consistent metrics definitions:
    • Select users or devices, acquisitions or losses
    • Define if you’re interested in new, returning, or all users
    • Measure events (for example, when someone installs) or uniques (for instance, every person who installs)
  • Change analysis charts automatically show the largest changes during a selected period of time for a given dimension, making it easy to see the largest contributors to your metric trends.
  • Saved reports allow you to configure your metrics just the way you want them, then save them for easy retrieval and common analyses.
  • Suggested reports help you to find interesting ways to combine your data for more valuable analysis.
  • And finally, all configured data can be downloaded as CSVs from within the interface.

As a result of these updates, you will notice a few changes to your metrics. Old metrics names will be deprecated, but you can configure new metrics that map to the old ones with this cheat sheet. And don’t forget to use the ‘save report’ feature on the stats page so you can easily return to any configurations you find particularly helpful!

Save report feature on the stats page

Don’t forget to use the ‘save this report’ feature on the stats page to easily return to any configurations you find particularly helpful.

Other metrics like active user and active device will see a step-change as the new definitions are more expansive and include previously under-counted data.

Some new metrics map onto older ones. Where this happens, all historic data will be automatically included. But in other cases new metrics will only be generated from launch day. For unique devices or users, weekly metrics will start to appear two weeks after launch, monthly metrics once there’s a single full month’s data, and quarterly metrics once there’s a full quarter’s data.

We know it’s a lot to take in at once, so make sure to bookmark the cheat sheet for helpful tips as you navigate the transition and explore your new metrics. Additionally, our Decision-Making with the Google Play Console session from Google I/O and our Play Academy training are other great resources to help you get up to speed.

Check out these updates in the Google Play Console today — we hope you find them useful. Your comments help to shape the future of Google Play, so please continue to let us know what you think.

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Supporting Google Play developers regarding local market withholding tax regulations

Posted by Gloria On, Program Manager, Google Play

Many developers are increasingly focused on growing their businesses globally, and there were more than 94 billion apps downloaded from Google Play in the last year, reaching more than 190 countries. The regulatory environment is frequently changing in local markets, and in some countries local governments have implemented withholding tax requirements on transactions with which Google or our payment processor partners must comply. We strive to help both developers and Google meet local tax requirements in markets where we do business, and where Google or our payment processor partners are required to withhold taxes, we may need to deduct those amounts from our payments to developers.

Due to new requirements in some markets, we'll be rolling out withholding taxes soon to all those doing business in those countries. We wanted to bring this to the attention of Google Play developers to allow you time to prepare for these upcoming changes and take any necessary measures to meet these obligations. We strongly recommend developers consult with a professional tax advisor on your individual tax implications in affected markets and for guidance on the potential impact on your business so that you can make any necessary preparations.

The first countries where we will roll out these changes will be Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Myanmar. You can refer to the Google Play help center page to stay informed on future updates and changes.

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In reviews we trust — Making Google Play ratings and reviews more trustworthy

Posted by Fei Ye, Software Engineer and Kazushi Nagayama, Ninja Spamologist

Google Play ratings and reviews are extremely important in helping users decide which apps to install. Unfortunately, fake and misleading reviews can undermine users' trust in those ratings. User trust is a top priority for us at Google Play, and we are continuously working to make sure that the ratings and reviews shown in our store are not being manipulated.

There are various ways in which ratings and reviews may violate our developer guidelines:

  • Bad content: Reviews that are profane, hateful, or off-topic.
  • Fake ratings: Ratings and reviews meant to manipulate an app's average rating or top reviews. We've seen different approaches to manipulate the average rating; from 5-star attacks to positively boost an app's average rating, to 1-star attacks to influence it negatively.
  • Incentivized ratings: Ratings and reviews given by real humans in exchange for money or valuable items.

When we see these, we take action on the app itself, as well as the review or rating in question.

In 2018, the Google Play Trust & Safety teams deployed a system that combines human intelligence with machine learning to detect and enforce policy violations in ratings and reviews. A team of engineers and analysts closely monitor and study suspicious activities in Play's ratings and reviews, and improve the model's precision and recall on a regular basis. We also regularly ask skilled reviewers to check the decisions made by our models for quality assurance.

It's a big job. To give you a sense of the volume we manage, here are some numbers from a recent week:

  • Millions of reviews and ratings detected and removed from the Play Store.
  • Thousands of bad apps identified due to suspicious reviews and rating activities on them.

Our team can do a lot, but we need your help to keep Google Play a safe and trusted place for apps and games.

If you're a developer, you can help us by doing the following:

  • Don't buy fake or incentivized ratings.
  • Don't run campaigns, in-app or otherwise, like "Give us 5 stars and we'll give you this in-app item!" That counts as incentivized ratings, and it's prohibited by policy.
  • Do read the Google Play Developer Policy to make sure you are not inadvertently making violations.

Example of a violation: incentivized ratings is not allowed

If you're a user, you can follow these simple guidelines as well:

  • Don't accept or receive money or goods (even virtual ones) in exchange for reviews and ratings.
  • Don't use profanity to criticize an app or game; keep your feedback constructive.
  • Don't post gibberish, hateful, sexual, profane or off-topic reviews; they simply aren't allowed.
  • Do read the comment posting policy. It's pretty concise and talks about all the things you should consider when posting a review to the public.

Finally, if you find bad ratings and reviews on Google Play, help us improve by sending your feedback! Users can mark the review as "Spam" and developers can submit feedback through the Play Console.

Tooltip to flag the review as Spam.

Thanks for helping us keep Google Play a safe and trusted place to discover some of the world's best apps and games.

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Automating your app releases with Google Play

Posted by Nicholas Lativy, Software Engineer

At Google I/O we shared how Google's own apps make use of Google Play for successful launches and updates and introduced the new Google Play Developer Publishing API Version 3.

The Publishing API enables you to integrate publishing operations into your existing release process or automated workflows by providing the ability to upload APKs and roll out releases. Here's an overview of some of the improvements you can now take advantage of in Version 3 of the API.

Releases in the API

The Publishing API now uses the release model you are familiar with from the Play Console.

{
  "track": "production",
  "releases": [
    {
      "name": "Release One", 
      "versionCodes": ["100"],
      "status": "completed"
    }
  ]
}

This gives you full control over releases via the API allowing a number of operations which were previously available only in the Play Console. For example, you can now control the name of releases created via the API, and we have now relaxed the constraints on what can be rolled out via the API to match the Play Console.

Additional testing tracks

The API now supports releasing to any of the testing tracks you have configured for your application as well as the production track. This makes it possible to configure your continuous integration system to push a new build to your internal test track as soon as it's ready for QA.

Staged rollout

Staged rollouts are the recommended way to deploy new versions of your app. They allow you to make your new release available to a small percentage of users and gradually increase this percentage as your confidence in the release grows.

Staged rollouts are now represented directly in the API as inProgress releases.

{
  "track": "production",
  "releases": [
    {
      "versionCodes": ["100"],
      "status": "completed"
    },
    {
      "versionCodes": ["200"],
      "status": "inProgress",
      "userFraction": 0.1
    }
  ]
}

You can now halt a staged rollout via the API by changing its status to halted. This makes it possible to automatically respond to any problems you detect while performing a rollout. If it turns out to be a false alarm, the API now also allows you to resume a halted release by changing its status back to inProgress.

Release notes

Release notes are a useful way to communicate to users new features you have added in a release. In V3 we have simplified how these are specified via the API by adding the releaseNotes field to release.

{
  "track": "production",
  "releases": [
    {
      "versionCodes": ["100"],
      "status": "completed",
      "releaseNotes": [
        {
          "language": "en-US",
          "text": "Now it's easier to specify release notes."
        },
        {
           "language": "it-IT",
           "text": "Ora è più semplice specificare le note sulla versione."
        }
    }
  ]
}

Draft releases

We know that while many developers are comfortable deploying test builds automatically, they like using the Play Console when rolling out to production.

So, in the V3 API we have added the ability to create and manage Draft Releases.

{
  "track": "production",
  "releases": [
    {
      "name": "Big Launch",
      "versionCodes": ["200"],
      "status": "draft"
    }
  ]
}

This allows you to upload APKs or App Bundles and create a draft release from your continuous integration system, and then have your product manager log in, check that everything looks good, and hit "Confirm and Rollout".

We hope you find these features useful and take advantage of them for successful launches and updates with Google Play. If you're interested in some of the other great tools for distributing your apps, check out the I/O sessions which have now been posted to the Android Developers YouTube Channel.

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Playtime 2017: Find success on Google Play and grow your business with new Play Console features


Posted by Vineet Buch, Director of Product Management, Google Play Apps & Games
Today we kicked off our annual global Playtime series with back-to-back events in Berlin and San Francisco. Over the next month, we’ll be hearing from many app and game developers in cities around the world. It has been an amazing 2017 for developers on Google Play, there are now more than 8 billion new installs per month globally.

To help you continue to take advantage of this opportunity, we're announcing innovations on Google Play and new features in the Play Console. Follow us on Medium where presenters will be posting their strategies, best practices, and examples to help you achieve your business objectives. As Google Play continues to grow rapidly, we want to help people understand our business. That's why we're also publishing the State of Play 2017 report that will be updated annually to help you stay informed about our progress and how we’re helping developers succeed.

Apps and games on Google Play bring your devices to life, whether they're phones and tablets, Wear devices, TVs, Daydream, or Chromebooks like the new Google Pixelbook. We're making it even easier for people to discover and re-engage with great content on the Play Store.



Recognizing the best

We're investing in curation and editorial to showcase the highest quality apps and games we love. The revamped Editors' Choice is now live in 17 countries and Android Excellence recently welcomed new apps and games. We also continue to celebrate and support indie games, recently announcing winners of the Indie Games Festival in San Francisco and opening the second Indie Games Contest in Europe for nominations.



Discovering great games

We've launched an improved home for games with trailers and screenshots of gameplay and two new browse destinations are coming soon, 'New' (for upcoming and trending games) and 'Premium' (for paid games).



Going beyond installs

We’re showing reminders to try games you’ve recently installed and we’re expanding our successful ‘live operations’ banners on the Play Store, telling you about major in-game events in popular games you’ve got on your device. We're also excited to integrate Android Instant Apps with a 'Try it Now' button on store listings. With a single tap, people can jump right into the app experience without installing.

The new games experience on Google Play

The Google Play Console offers tools which help you and your team members at every step of an app’s lifecycle. Use the Play Console to improve app quality, manage releases with confidence, and increase business performance.



Focus on quality

Android vitals were introduced at I/O 2017 and already 65% of top developers are using the dashboard to understand their app's performance. We're adding five new Android vitals and increasing device coverage to help you address issues relating to battery consumption, crashes, and render time. Better performing apps are favored by Google Play's search and discovery algorithms.
We're improving pre-launch reports and enabling them for all developers with no need to opt-in. When you upload an alpha or beta APK, we'll automatically install and test your app on physical, popular devices powered by Firebase Test Lab. The report will tell you about crashes, display issues, security vulnerabilities, and now, performance issues encountered.
When you install a new app, you expect it to open and perform normally. To ensure people installing apps and games from Google Play have a positive experience and developers benefit from being part of a trusted ecosystem, we are introducing a policy to disallow apps which consistently exhibit broken experiences on the majority of devices such as​ crashing,​ closing,​ ​freezing,​ ​or​ ​otherwise​ ​functioning​ ​abnormally. Learn more in the policy center.



Release with confidence

Beta testing lets trusted users try your app or game before it goes to production so you can iterate on your ideas and gather feedback. You can now target alpha and beta tests to specific countries. This allows you to, for example, beta test in a country you're about to launch in, while people in other countries receive your production app. We'll be bringing country-targeting to staged rollouts soon.
We've also made improvements to the device catalog. Over 66% of top developers are using the catalog to ensure they provide a great user experience on the widest range of devices. You can now save device searches and see why a specific device doesn't support your app. Navigate to the device catalog and review the terms of service to get started.



Grow your subscriptions business

At I/O 2017 we announced that both the number of subscribers on Play and the subscriptions business revenue doubled in the preceding year. We're making it easier to setup and manage your subscription service with the Play Billing Library and, soon, new test instruments to simplify testing your flows for successful and unsuccessful payments.
We're helping you acquire and retain more subscribers. You can offer shorter free trials, at a minimum of three days, and we will now enforce one free trial at the app level to reduce the potential for abuse. You can opt-in to receive notifications when someone cancels their subscription and we're making it easier for people to restore a canceled subscription. Account hold is now generally available, where you can block access to your service while we get a user to fix a renewal payment issue. Finally, from January 2018 we're also updating our transaction fee for subscribers who are retained for more than 12 months.



Announcing the Google Play Security Reward Program

At Google, we have long enjoyed a close relationship with the security research community. Today we're introducing the Google Play Security Reward Program to incentivize security research into popular Android apps, including Google's own apps. The program will help us find vulnerabilities and notify developers via security recommendations on how to fix them. We hope to bring the success we have with our other reward programs, and we invite developers and the research community to work together with us on proactively improving Google Play ecosystem's security.



Stay up to date with Google Play news and tips





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Introducing Android Instant Apps SDK 1.1

Jichao Li, Software Engineer; Shobana Ravi, Software Engineer

Since our public launch at Google I/O, we've been working hard to improve the developer experience of building instant apps. Today, we're excited to announce availability of the Android Instant Apps SDK 1.1 with some highly-requested features such as improved NDK support, configuration APKs for binary size reduction, and a new API to maintain user's context when they transition from an instant app to the installed app.

Introducing configuration APKs

For a great instant app experience, app binaries need to be lean and well structured. That's why we're introducing configuration APKs.

Configuration APKs allow developers to isolate device-specific resources and native libraries into independent APKs. For an application that uses configuration APKs, the Android Instant Apps framework will only load the resources and native libraries relevant to the user's device, thereby reducing the total size of the instant app on the device.

We currently support configuration APKs for display density, CPU architecture (ABI), and language. With these, we have seen an average reduction of 10% in the size of the binaries loaded. Actual savings for a given app depend on the number of resource files and native libraries that can be configured.

As an example, a user on an ARM device with LDPI screen density and language set to Chinese would then receive device-agnostic code and resources, and then only get the configuration APKs that have ARM native libraries, the Chinese language, and LDPI resources. They would not receive any of the other configuration APKs such as the x86 libraries, Spanish language strings, or HDPI resources.

Setting up configuration APKs for your app is a simple change to your gradle setup. Just follow the steps in our public documentation.

Persistent user context after installation

On Android Oreo, the internal storage of the instant version of the app is directly available to the installed version of the app. With this release of the SDK, we are enabling this functionality on older versions of the Android Framework, including Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat devices.

To extract the internal storage of the instant app, installed apps can now call InstantAppsClient.getInstantAppData() using the Instant Apps Google Play Services API and get a ZIP file of the instant app's internal storage.

Check out our code sample and documentation for more details on how to use this API.

Start building your Android Instant App

It's simple to start building your instant app on the latest SDK. Just open the SDK Manager in Android Studio and update your Instant Apps Development SDK to 1.1.0. We can't wait to see what instant app experiences you build with these new features.

Android Instant Apps is open to all developers. Start building today!

Posted by: Jonathan Karmel, Product Manager

Earlier this year, we began testing Android Instant Apps, a new way to run Android apps without requiring installation. Thanks to our incredible developer community, we received a ton of feedback that has helped us refine the end-to-end product experience.

Today, we're opening Android Instant Apps to all developers, so anyone can build and publish an instant app. There are also more than 50 new experiences available for users to try from a variety of developers, such as HotPads, Jet, the New York Times, Vimeo, and One Football. While these experiences have only been live for a short amount of time, the early data shows positive results. For example, Jet and HotPads are seeing double digit increases in purchases and leads generated.

(left to right: One Football, Dotloop, Jet, Vimeo, HotPads and The New York Times)

Feedback from our early partners has directly shaped the development tools we're making available to all of you today.

To get started building an instant app, head over to developer.android.com and download the latest preview of Android Studio 3.0 and the Android Instant Apps SDK. You'll continue to use a single codebase. Android Studio provides the tools you need to modularize your app so that features can be downloaded as needed. Every app is different, but we've seen with our early partners that with the latest tools, instant app development typically takes about 4-6 weeks.

Once you've built your app, the Play Console provides support for distributing your instant app. You just upload your instant app APKs together with your installable APK.

Instant Apps continues to ramp up on the latest Android devices in more than 40 countries. And with Android O, we've gone further, building a new, more efficient runtime sandbox for instant apps, sharable support libraries to reduce app size, and launcher integration support.

To learn more, visit g.co/InstantApps. We're also hosting a session "Introduction to Android Instant Apps" on Thursday, May 18 from 1:30-2:30 PM PT at the conference to dig deeper into the topic. You'll also be able to watch the live stream on Google I/O YouTube channel.

We are excited to see what experiences you create with Instant Apps!