Tag Archives: android developers

Answers to your questions about app signing by Google Play

Posted by Dom Elliott, Product Manager, Google Play

Google Play's first priority is to build a trusted, safe, and secure platform for billions of users and millions of developers for many years into the future. The sustainability and success of the ecosystem depends on this.

As part of this goal, almost two years ago, we announced app signing by Google Play. With app signing by Google Play, Google manages and protects your app's signing key for you and uses it to sign your APKs for distribution. It’s a secure way to store your app signing key that helps protect you if your key is ever lost or compromised. If you’re not enrolled in app signing and you lose your signing key, you’ll lose the ability to update your app.

App signing by Play also enables you to publish your app or game with the Android App Bundle, the recommended publishing format in use by over 500,000 apps in production on Google Play. The Android App Bundle reduces the size of your app, simplifies your releases, and unlocks next generation distribution features such as dynamic features and dynamic asset delivery.

Developers often have questions when enrolling in app signing for the first time so my colleague has written a Medium post with answers to some frequently asked questions. Read the post to find out more about the benefits of app signing, how we protect developer keys, and to learn about features like key upgrade for new installs and the new source stamp that bundletool will start adding to apps published with app bundles to give you more peace of mind about Play-signed apps.



Promoting high-quality, teacher-approved kids content on Google Play

Posted by Michael Watson, Product Manager, Google Play

With more kids spending time at home, parents are looking for ways to find apps and games for children that are both enriching and entertaining. Today, we’re announcing an update that will make it easier for parents to find this content on the Google Play Store. We’re launching the Teacher Approved program, an editorial program to highlight high-quality, teacher-approved apps for kids. This is part of our ongoing effort to create a safer Google Play for kids.


What’s changing

We consulted with academic experts to develop a framework for rating apps for kids. Specially trained teachers across the US will rate apps for kids based on this framework, evaluating things like:

  • Design quality
  • Appeal to children
  • Enrichment potential
  • Ads & in-app purchases
  • Age appropriateness

Teacher-approved apps will:

  • Be eligible to appear in the new Kids section on Google Play
  • Be eligible for featuring in banners or collections on Google Play
  • Display the new "Teacher approved" badge
  • Display information about what teachers found valuable on their app details page
Phone scrolling through teacher-approved app store
The Google Play store featuring teacher-approved apps

As a result of these changes, we are removing the Family star badge and the Family section on Google Play. All apps that were in the Family section will continue to be discoverable on the Play Store and appear in search results. Note that this change will have no effect on Family Library.

Who’s eligible

Apps need to meet the requirements of the Designed for Families program before they’re eligible to be reviewed by teachers. All Designed for Families apps are automatically placed in the teacher review queue.

We made the decision to launch the Teacher Approved program a little early given the vast number of kids at home now. Teachers are working hard to review apps as quickly as possible, but it will take time to review all apps, so we appreciate your patience. Our initial launch will be limited to the US, to be followed by a global rollout in the coming months.

To help developers better understand what the teachers are looking for, we published a new learning path on Google Play’s Academy for App Success, including findings from Google Play’s research into technology usage by parents and kids.

Rewarding for all

We’re committed to improving the ecosystem and partnering with our developers. We look forward to continuing to work with you to create the best possible experience for children and families on Google Play. For more information on the Teacher Approved program, check out our FAQs.

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Promoting high-quality, teacher-approved kids content on Google Play

Posted by Michael Watson, Product Manager, Google Play

With more kids spending time at home, parents are looking for ways to find apps and games for children that are both enriching and entertaining. Today, we’re announcing an update that will make it easier for parents to find this content on the Google Play Store. We’re launching the Teacher Approved program, an editorial program to highlight high-quality, teacher-approved apps for kids. This is part of our ongoing effort to create a safer Google Play for kids.


What’s changing

We consulted with academic experts to develop a framework for rating apps for kids. Specially trained teachers across the US will rate apps for kids based on this framework, evaluating things like:

  • Design quality
  • Appeal to children
  • Enrichment potential
  • Ads & in-app purchases
  • Age appropriateness

Teacher-approved apps will:

  • Be eligible to appear in the new Kids section on Google Play
  • Be eligible for featuring in banners or collections on Google Play
  • Display the new "Teacher approved" badge
  • Display information about what teachers found valuable on their app details page
Phone scrolling through teacher-approved app store
The Google Play store featuring teacher-approved apps

As a result of these changes, we are removing the Family star badge and the Family section on Google Play. All apps that were in the Family section will continue to be discoverable on the Play Store and appear in search results. Note that this change will have no effect on Family Library.

Who’s eligible

Apps need to meet the requirements of the Designed for Families program before they’re eligible to be reviewed by teachers. All Designed for Families apps are automatically placed in the teacher review queue.

We made the decision to launch the Teacher Approved program a little early given the vast number of kids at home now. Teachers are working hard to review apps as quickly as possible, but it will take time to review all apps, so we appreciate your patience. Our initial launch will be limited to the US, to be followed by a global rollout in the coming months.

To help developers better understand what the teachers are looking for, we published a new learning path on Google Play’s Academy for App Success, including findings from Google Play’s research into technology usage by parents and kids.

Rewarding for all

We’re committed to improving the ecosystem and partnering with our developers. We look forward to continuing to work with you to create the best possible experience for children and families on Google Play. For more information on the Teacher Approved program, check out our FAQs.

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Google Play updates and information: Resources for developers


Posted by Sam Tolomei, Business Development Manager, Google Play
Illustration of a person typing on a laptop with tech icons on the side

In these unprecedented times, Google Play's mission to support you, ensure your businesses continue to operate well, and help users get the content they need is more important than ever. With a surge in need for information, communications tools, entertainment, and more, we are striving to ensure our operations run smoothly, and we need your support.

Below, we’ve pulled together some important information to help you maintain business continuity, as well as best practices to help you stay nimble in the changing landscape.

Extended app review times

Like many of you, we've had to manage work disruptions as a result of changing business conditions. This has led to a temporary slowing down of the app review process, which now may take 7 days or longer. As the situation evolves, we will continue to make sure that the most important updates reach users quickly, which may result in fluctuating review times. Certain critical apps may receive prioritized review and may not experience an extended delay in review time. Please check the Google Play Console for the most up-to-date information and guidance.

At the same time, in order to help ensure we are providing users with accurate and timely information relating to COVID-19, we also are prioritizing the review of apps published, commissioned, or authorized by official government entities and public health organizations.

If you want to control when your app goes live, we recommend timed publishing. Just submit your app for review, and once it’s approved, click “Go live” in the Play Console to instantly publish your app. Note: If you already have a release submitted to the production track that is under review, you will not see the “timed publishing” option.

Store listing guidelines

At Google Play we take our responsibility to provide accurate and relevant information for our users very seriously. For that reason, we are currently only approving apps that reference COVID-19 or related terms in their store listing if the app is published, commissioned, or authorized by an official government entity or public health organization, and the app does not contain any monetization mechanisms such as ads, in-app products, or in-app donations. This includes references in places such as the app title, description, release notes, or screenshots.

Removing inappropriate reviews

With the recent increase in traffic, some apps are seeing a spike in inappropriate one-star reviews from users. If you are receiving reviews that are not related to your app experience, you can flag the review in the Play Console. We’ve expanded our ability to assess and remove inappropriate reviews so we can handle your request as quickly as possible.

Subscriptions support

While subscriptions are a large part of many app business models, two groups are currently seeing the largest impact: 1) those whose core businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (such as live event ticketing), and 2) those who provide a public service with their content or services.

For developers whose business value proposition has been affected, features like deferred billing and subscription pauses can help retain users until after the crisis has passed. For developers who want to offer their content or services like medical, online learning, and wellbeing apps at reduced or no cost, features like price changes and refunds through Google Play Billing are available to help.

Learn more best practices in our Medium post.

How we’re helping the community

Google is also committed to helping our community at large. To help small businesses reconnect with their customers, Google is granting $340 million in ad credits to be used across our Google Ads platforms — learn more here.

Here’s what else we’re doing:

  • We’ve launched a special coronavirus section on Google Play with resources to help users find information from trusted sources.
  • We've extended Google Play Pass free trials to 30 days so more people can enjoy your apps and games.
  • We’ve launched a $10 million Distance Learning Fund to support organizations that provide high-quality learning opportunities to children. Developers who are non-profit, education-related enterprises are eligible for this program. Stay tuned for more details from Google.org.
  • Finally, with your help, we’ve raised over $290,000 for The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund, supporting organizations on the ground with preparedness, containment, response, and recovery. Visit play.google.com/donate to contribute.

As the situation progresses, we will continue to gather more resources to help you. We’re also taking steps to limit changes and barriers because we know you have enough on your plate right now. Please stay tuned for more information, and thank you for being a part of the Google Play community. If you have any other suggestions about how we can support you during this time, please let us know by tweeting at us at @GooglePlayDev with #AskGooglePlay.

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Meet the finalists of the Google Play Indie Games Festival

Posted by Leticia Lago, Head of Developer Marketing, EMEA

illustrated Indie Games Festival

At the start of this year we opened submissions for 2020’s Google Play Indie Games Festival - an international competition celebrating incredible indie games from Europe, Japan and South Korea.

We’ve received hundreds of fantastic submissions that showcase the technical abilities and groundbreaking creativity of independent studios. Many thanks to everyone who submitted their game. After some hard choices and late nights, we’re happy to announce our 20 finalists in each region.

Please check out the games below (in alphabetical order); each one is a true work of art. They will be receiving promotions and prizes to help them grow their business. They’ll also be competing in the Finals for the top prizes.

While this is a happy announcement, we must also inform you that we will be unable to hold the Finals as planned on April 25 in Poland, Japan and South Korea due to the COVID-19 situation. We will be postponing the events until further notice, as the health and safety of finalists, jury members, players and others involved is our top priority. Please stay tuned for further announcements.

Google Play Indie Games Festival Europe Finalists

Europe*

60 Parsecs! by Robot Gentleman

Aisle Trial by Jake Matthews-Belcher

Alien Escape by Korion Games

Alt-Frequencies by Accidental Queens

Bad North by Rawfury

Bounce that Bird! by Affinity Project

Cessabit: a Stress Relief Game by Tepes Ovidiu

Color Spots by UX Apps

Cookies Must Die by Rebel Twins

Demons Never Lie by Maika Hernandez

Doors: Awakening by Big Loop

Faraway: Galactic Escape by Pine Studio

inbento by Afterburn

My Diggy Dog 2 by King Bird Games

The White Door by Rusty Lake

Tiny Tomb: Dungeon Explorer by Tinycorp

Traffix by Infinity Games

Tricky Castle by Team Tricky

Unhatched by Filip Loster

Void Tyrant by Quite Fresh

Google Play Indie Games Festival Japan Finalists

Japan

Amayadori by CHARON・Yanase

CUBE GARDEN by Fukudanuki

GIGAFALL by Shiki Game Studio

GummyShooter by simatten

Home Fighter by hap Inc.

Matsuro Palette by SleepingMuseum

METBOY! by REBUILD GAMES

Mocha - Dagsaw Puzzle - by Kotoriyama, Inc.

MonsterTrader by Mitsuhiro Okada

Overturn by Katsu Matsuda

Shiritori - The Word Chain Game by Baton

Snowman Story by Odencat

SOUND JOURNEY SCHOOL WANDERER by SOUND JOURNEY

TAP! DIG! MY MUSEUM! by oridio Inc.

Teiji Taisha Online by toru sugitani

The Final Taxi by Zxima.LLC

Uncrowned by NESTOPI Inc.

Wasurenaide, otona ni natte mo by GAGEX Co.,Ltd.

World for Two by Seventh rank

Zelle by Odencat Fuming

Google Play Indie Games Festival South Korea Finalists

South Korea

Castle Defense Online by BlackHammer

CAT THE DJ by CATSBY STUDIO

DiceEmpire by Banjiha Games

Domino City by Bad Beans

DUST by I-eye studio

Electroad by Night Owl Studio

Extreme football by 9M Interactive

From Earth by Kentauros Entertainment

Great Sword - Stickman Action RPG by Olivecrow

Heroes Restaurant by Team Tapas

Little Boy by 39Studio

Magic Survival by LEME

Mayday Memory by StoryTaco.inc

Petrider by Ddookdak studio

Project Mars by Moontm

QV by Izzle

Sand Shark : The Boy and The Sea by GABANGMAN STUDIO

Staroid : Brick breaker shooter by Spring Games

Sword Master Story by CodeCAT

Undestroyed by Keymaker games

The competition was open to indie developers from the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland).

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Run ARM apps on the Android Emulator

Posted by Michael Hazard

As part of the Android 11 developer preview we’ve released Android 11 system images, which are capable of executing ARM binaries with significantly improved performance. Previously, developers who were dependent on ARM libraries and could not build an x86 variant of their app either had to use system images with full ARM emulation, which are much slower than x86 system images when run on x86-based computers, or resort to physical devices. The new Android 11 system images are capable of translating ARM instructions to x86 without impacting the entire system. This allows the execution of ARM binaries for testing without the performance overhead of full ARM emulation.

The new Android 11 (Google APIs) x86 system image supports ARM ABIs, while the older Android Oreo system image does not

The new Android 11 (Google APIs) x86 system image supports ARM ABIs, while the older Android Oreo system image does not

Details

The significance of this may require a bit of context, especially if you build apps exclusively with Kotlin or the Java programming language. Unlike Kotlin or the Java programming language, both of which execute on the Android Runtime (ART), any C++ in your Android app compiles directly into machine instructions. This means that it needs to be compiled differently based on the architecture of the target device. Mobile phones tend to have ARM processors; consequently, many C++ dependencies you might add to your app, like a camera barcode scanner library, are only compatible with ARM processors. This is a problem if you develop on a computer with an x86-based processor, as it would prevent you from running your app.

Previously, if you wanted to get around this limitation and execute an app built for ARM on your x86 machine, you would have had to use an emulator system image with full ARM emulation. Due to the overhead of translating an entire system’s worth of ARM instructions to x86, emulator system images with full ARM emulation tend to run much slower than x86-based system images when run on x86 host machines. Additionally, emulator system images with full ARM emulation cannot take advantage of the hardware acceleration and CPU virtualization technologies provided by x86 processors.

The new ARM-compatible Android 11 system images allow the entire system to run x86 natively and take advantage of virtualization technologies as usual. When an app’s process requires an ARM binary, the binary is translated to x86 within that process exclusively. This allows the rest of the process to continue executing in x86, including the Android Runtime (ART), and other performance-critical libraries like libGLES and libvulkan. In addition to this, the translator avoids expensive memory access instrumentation and the associated performance hit by avoiding the execution of low-level hardware-specific libraries. These new emulator system images can be used both locally and on your own continuous integration infrastructure. This is possible thanks to collaboration with ARM Limited.

Going Forward

If you have previously chosen physical devices over the emulator due to the lack of performant ARM support, try out the Android 11 system images, which are now available alongside the Android 11 Developer Preview. These system images can be downloaded in Android Studio via either the SDK Manager or the Android Virtual Device Manager.

Using the Android Virtual Device Manager to create an AVD that runs Android 11

Using the Android Virtual Device Manager to create an AVD that runs Android 11

Once you get your app running on the emulator, consider adapting it for Chrome OS. Chrome OS also supports the execution of Android apps built for ARM on x86 laptops. Building for Chrome OS provides access to a substantial ecosystem of larger screen devices, allowing your application to reach even more users globally.

This technology should enable more developers to test with the Android Emulator. That said, we still recommend that developers publish both x86 and ARM ABI variants of their apps to achieve the best physical device performance and reach as many users as possible. Going forward, we plan to roll this technology out across a wider variety of API levels and ensure that it supports testing all use cases that a physical device would. Given that this is a new technology, please let us know of any problems via our Issue Tracker.

Note that the ARM to x86 translation technology enables the execution of intellectual property owned by Arm Limited. It will only be available on Google APIs and Play Store system images, and can only be used for application development and debug purposes on x86 desktop, laptop, customer on-premises servers, and customer-procured cloud-based environments. The technology should not be used in the provision of commercial hosted services.

Java is a registered trademark of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Unveiling expert insights in our new podcast series: Apps, Games, & Insights

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Global Marketing, Platforms & Ecosystems

This is a cross-post from The Google Keyword blog.

Apps, Games, & Insights illustrated banner with gaming imagery.

Today we’re launching the Apps, Games, & Insights podcast series, bringing together insights, stories, and learnings from industry experts, on some of today's hottest topics surrounding mobile, apps and games businesses, and the wider industry.

Listen to the podcast here!

The series has eight episodes which aim to challenge, provoke thought, and enlighten listeners - from designers and developers, through to product managers and marketers, and those interested in the apps and games industry.

The podcast is hosted by Googlers Tamzin Taylor, who heads up Apps & Games Business Development for Google Play in Western Europe, and Dirk Primbs, who leads the Ecosystem Developer Relations team in EMEA. Together, they have many years of experience working with partners to assist with Android development, mobile, app, game, and business growth. Every week they will be joined by different guests for each of the episodes.

Sneak peek at what’s coming up

Kicking off the series are Judy Chen and Sarah Fuchs from Crowdstar, the developers of Covet Fashion and Design Home. They join us for episode 1 to discuss how to build a long-term games business by taking a holistic approach to the game, its players, and the people who create the game.

Ever wonder if it's worth selling your app or game business, and if so how to approach it? It's not all about pocketing the cash and walking away. For episode 2, game mergers and acquisitions expert Chris Petrovic from Zynga will talk about how acquisition can free developers to focus on what they love: creating great apps and games.

The popularity of subscriptions continues to grow, with developers who used subscriptions earning 4X more in 2018, than in 2016. Holly Ackerman and David Berlin, from the sports streaming platform DAZN, join us for episode 3 to provide some fascinating insights into how they have grown their subscription business in this industry.

Whether you are a startup in search of funding or an established business looking to accelerate your investment, venture capital can often be a good source of funds. In episode 4, venture capital expert Matteo Vallone from Cherry Ventures offers insights into the investment process and how to maximize your appeal to investors.

For episode 5, we have what is possibly one of the biggest topics in mobile and throughout the tech industry: privacy. Bruce Gustafson, CEO of Developers Alliance brings us up to speed on trust and safety, platform value, respecting the user, and ultimately building privacy friendly apps and games.

Successful game developers put players front and center of everything they do. When over 270 million people have played your games, you must be doing something right. Ben Clarke, Senior Global Marketing Director at Jagex, joins us for episode 6 to discuss some of the innovative approaches to player engagement and retention taken in their RuneScape games.

Figuring out how to make your app or game accessible to all can often be a challenge, sometimes both from an organizational and technical perspective. However, many developers have made accessibility a core part of their app development process and company culture. For episode 7, we’re joined by Ceri Lindsay and Rosalind Whittam from the BBC to discover how they address accessibility.

Today, Android is not just about smartphones, Android apps and games can run on a range of devices with larger screens, such as Chromebooks. At the same time, mature mobile game franchises are looking for opportunities beyond mobile. In our final episode 8, we’ll be joined by Maximiliano Rodriguez of Gameloft to talk about the challenge of taking games to big screens and new platforms.

We hope you’ll join us over the next eight weeks to dive deeper and hear what our thought leader guests have to say on each topic.

How to stay tuned in

To listen to our first podcast and find out more about what’s coming, check out our new Apps, Games, & Insights podcast homepage.

Listen to our first episode here, or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Google Podcasts, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and also on LibSyn. Keep an eye out on @GooglePlayDev and @AndroidDev on Twitter where we will be announcing the launch of the new episodes each week.

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Enter the Indie Games Festival from Google Play

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Developer Marketing

Indie Games Festival banner

The indie developer community released several fantastic titles on Google Play during 2019, showing the technical skill and innovative design that makes them an essential part of the gaming landscape.

To continue helping indie developers thrive, today we’re announcing the 2020 edition of our annual Google Play Indie Games Festival. This year we will host three competitions for developers from several European countries*, Japan, and South Korea.

Prizes:

Prizes are designed to help you grow your business, including:

  • The chance to exhibit at the final events in Warsaw, Tokyo or Seoul
  • Promotions on the Google Play Store
  • Promotions on our consumer and developer-facing channels
  • Access to exclusive developer-focused Google events
  • Personalized consultation sessions with Google team members
  • And more!

Eligibility:

The contests are open to developers from selected countries, with no more than 50 employees. The submitted game must be new, released at least in open beta between May 7, 2019 and March 2, 2020. See other requirements in the terms and conditions for each of the contests.

Process:

process banner for Indie Games Festival

Simply fill out the relevant form by clicking here. Submissions are open until March 2, 2020, at 3pm CET.

The Top 20 entries in each region will be announced in March and invited to showcase at the Festival events where the field will be narrowed to 10 by the event audience, industry experts and the Google team. The Top 10 will present their games on stage and the 3 winners will be selected.

Not submitting a game? Come and take part:

Even if you’re not submitting a game to the competitions, we’d love to see you at one of the Festival events on the 25th of April 2020.

Learn more and sign up on g.co/play/indiefestival

* The European competition is open to developers from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland).

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Our highlights from Android & Google Play in 2019 – building for the next decade

Posted by Patricia Correa, P&E Developer Marketing Director

The last 12 months have seen Google Play continue to grow, with over 116 billion downloads of the apps and games that you created.

We’ve been working hard to build the latest technology and tools for modern Android development and distribution, improving Google Play and the Play Console to offer you new and better ways for your app to be discovered, promoted, and monetized.

A key focus has been addressing the challenge of keeping users safe and maintaining trust in Google Play.

Modern Android development

We are focused on building great tools and services and your feedback is crucial in helping us do so. You have told us that you love Android’s openness, but we have also heard that you would like us to marry it with an opinion about the right way to do things. We call this approach modern Android development: opinionated and powerful, for fast, easy development, taking away everything that slows you down so you can focus on building incredible experiences. You can see modern Android development come to life in a number of investments we made this year:

  • We previewed Jetpack Compose, a modern declarative UI toolkit built for the next 10 years. Inspired by Kotlin, Compose makes it easy to build beautiful, native apps with code that is more intuitive and concise. Check out the Compose tutorial to learn more.
  • This year, Android Jetpack saw many stable library releases from background scheduling with WorkManager, in-app navigation with Navigation to app performance measurement with Benchmark . In 2019 , we also gave you early versions of more building blocks for your production apps with Jetpack CameraX library, BiometricPrompt and encryption & security. Check them all out here.
  • For everyone who wants to get started with Kotlin there are a range of courses available on Udacity. We’ve added the Advanced Android course with Kotlin to help every developer grow their skills and get the most from Kotlin. For those who are already experts, we’re launching a new Android Developer Certification in Kotlin, which is available at a discount until early 2020.
  • We recently released the first canary version of Android Studio 4.0 with powerful, integrated tooling support for Compose. It also has a new Motion Editor, Java 8 Language library desugaring, full support for KTS files, Kotlin live templates, and more.

Android 10

Android 10, released earlier this year, is built around three important themes. First, Android 10 is shaping the leading edge of mobile innovation with advanced machine-learning and support for emerging devices like foldables and 5G enabled phones. Next, Android 10 has a central focus on privacy and security, with almost 50 features that give users greater protection, transparency, and control. Finally, Android 10 expands users' digital wellbeing controls so individuals and families can find a better balance with technology.

Modern app and game distribution

We introduced Android App Bundles last year as a mechanism to simplify and streamline app distribution, overcome the constraints of APK publishing, and introduce advanced distribution features such as dynamic delivery. There are now over 300K app bundle apps and games in production, covering nearly 30% of all active installs. If this doesn’t include your app or game, check out 16 reasons to publish your apps and games with the Android App Bundle.

This year we’ve made it much easier to test and implement app bundles and dynamic delivery. Internal app sharing makes it easy to share test builds with others. You can easily grant anyone on your team the ability to upload a test build to Play and get a download link to share with your testers. With internal app sharing, you can be sure that each device is receiving exactly what Play would deliver in the wild. You don’t need to use version codes or the prod signing key, and can even upload debuggable artifacts.You can also get download links for old versions of your app from the Play Console, whether they’re app bundles or APKs.

Protecting the ecosystem

In 2019, you helped us make Google Play even safer, building user trust in your apps and Google Play as a whole. Thanks to your hard work, we have:

  • Made Google Play safer for children and families by helping ensure apps and games for children have appropriate content, show suitable ads, and handle personally identifiable information correctly.
  • Reduced access to sensitive data by restricting SMS and call log permissions to apps whose core functionality needs them, resulting in 98% fewer apps accessing this sensitive data.

To help you protect your apps, we’ve improved our ability to detect impersonators, repackaging, bad content, and other forms of abuse. Additionally, we’re investing in resources like policy-focused Play Academy courses to help you better understand and navigate our policy changes.

Because the threats are always changing, it’ll take all of us working together to keep users safe and our platform secure. Thank you for continuing to work with us on this.

Building better app businesses

During 2019 we continued to look for new ways to help you market and monetize your apps and games:

  • Google Play got a visual refresh which improves app discovery and accessibility for the wide diversity of store visitors.
  • App tags improve discoverability, enabling you to describe the content and functionality of your game with up to five tags.
  • Your app’s rating is now weighted towards your most recent ratings, instead of a lifetime cumulative average, so that it better reflects your app’s current state.
  • Improved and more granular benchmarks in the Google Play Console’s User Acquisition-, Ratings-, and Android Vitals-reports; and new benchmarks for core statistics against 200 curated peer-sets; with period-on-period growth rates, including user and device acquisitions, churn, actives, and more.
  • If you’re using subscriptions, the pause subscription report offers you new insights including the length users paused for and whether they returned or churned at the end of their pause period.
  • We expanded our buyer support so you can now sell apps and games to people in Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Iraq, and Turks and Caicos. We also welcomed many new developers to the Google Play Store’s family with Seller Support, with more than 35 additional countries launched this year. Find out more.

And that’s a wrap

With such scale comes responsibility. We’re committed to ensuring our users’ safety for the future, to making development easier and distribution faster, and to offering you more effective ways for your app to be discovered and monetized.

On this note, we hope we can all continue working together to make Android and Google Play better for billions of people around the world, in 2020, and the years to come. From everyone on our team, we wish you all a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.

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Still Using InstallBroadcast? Switch to the Play Referrer API by March 1, 2020

Posted by Marcus Leal, Product Manager, Google Play Ads

How do people find your app? It’s the million-dollar question for any developer, and the answer can help you make the right choices about your marketing strategy and budget. Accurate install referral data is crucial for understanding which traffic sources send users to download your app from the Google Play Store, as well as identifying fraudulent attempts to claim install attributions.

That’s why in 2017, we launched the Play Install Referrer API, which provides a reliable and robust mechanism for apps to retrieve referral information directly from the Play Store. It was a big step forward from the old install_referrer intent broadcast, so many developers made the switch right away, including App Attribution Program partners like Adjust, AppsFlyer, and Kochava. Now, because it’s been replaced by the new API, we’ve decided to deprecate the install_referrer intent broadcast mechanism on March 1, 2020. After this date, new versions of the Play Store app will no longer broadcast the install_referrer intent after app installs.

We are asking developers who still rely on the install_referrer to use the Play Install Referrer API instead. Among other advantages, the Install Referrer API offers better performance, uses a secure communication channel between your app and the Play Store, and offers a more robust solution against spoof and attribution fraud.

If you still use the Broadcast API and the install_referrer intent to track your referrals, be sure to make the switch by March 1, 2020. Migration is easy, and the cost of adoption is low. Learn how to use the Play Install Referrer API to track your app installs today.