Tag Archives: Google Play

Turning the page on Google Play Books’ first decade

With more time on my hands during this pandemic, I’ve learned that I’m not a gardener (yield from 7 tomato plants--> 2 teeny tomatoes), nor am I a furniture refinisher (but it seemed so straightforward on YouTube!). I am, however, a reader. I’ve indulged more in this lifelong hobby in 2020, finally getting around to books that have been in my Google Play Books library for a long time, and discovering new titles.  

This week marks Google’s 10th year as a digital bookstore. On December 6, 2010, we launched Google eBooks in the U.S., so that people could read books on any device and with recommendations tailored to your interests. Since then, our bookstore—now Google Play Books—has expanded to more than 75 countries and our book catalog has grown to nearly 7 million titles. 

Over the years, we’ve used Google’s technology to expand our offerings and meet the needs of our readers and publishers. Bubble Zoom makes it easier to read comics on your phone by using machine learning to identify and expand speech bubbles. And, you can now access hundreds of thousands of audiobooks in our store, including a selection of free public domain audiobooks created with our auto-narration technology.  

Google Play Books has welcomed publishers of all sizes, becoming an important platform for our tens of thousands of publishing partners to grow their audience worldwide. Google Play Books is a success because of the publishers and book lovers we’ve brought together. 

As we look back on the last decade, here’s a list of our top fiction and nonfiction ebooks on Google Play Books each year in the U.S. (I’m proud to report that I’ve read 7 of 11 of the fiction titles!)

Top-selling fiction ebooks

Top-selling nonfiction ebooks

Books are more than just sources of information; they offer us connection, comfort, inspiration and joy—especially this year. As we recognize our tenth anniversary of Google’s digital bookstore, we’re thankful for all the bibliophiles who have made Google Play Books the hub of their reading life.


6 new ways Android can help this holiday season


With the holidays around the corner, we’re sharing six new Google features for Android—a few more ways your phone gets more helpful over time, even outside of major OS updates. Whether you’re texting holiday greetings to loved ones or winding down with a book, here’s how Android can help.


1. Mix up more of your favorite emoji

Emoji Kitchen gets new stickers and mixing experiences

Click on the image above to see a video of the latest mixing experience coming to Emoji Kitchen 

With Emoji Kitchen on Gboard, people have mixed their favorite emoji into customized stickers over 3 billion times since it was released earlier this year. With this latest update, Emoji Kitchen is going from hundreds of unique design combinations to over 14,000. Each mix makes it easier for you to express yourself with a little extra flair. Now you can simply tap two emoji to quickly see suggested combinations, or double tap on one emoji to reveal some more intense emotions. 

Already available on Gboard beta, the new version of Emoji Kitchen will be available on Android 6.0 and above over the coming weeks. Download Gboard on Google Play to enjoy the new emoji kitchen stickers this holiday season. ❄️️⛄️

2. Enjoy more stories as audiobooks

Auto-narrated audiobooks give voices to more ebooks

Click on the image above to see a video of how Google Play is bringing more audiobooks to Android

The holiday season is the perfect time to wind down and catch up on some books, and audiobooks make it even more convenient to immerse yourself in a story. But not all books, like the one written by your favorite indie author, are converted into an audiobook. Now Google Play, working with publishers in the U.S. and the UK, will use auto-generated narrators so books without audio versions can be narrated—meaning you’ll have more audio titles to choose from on Play Store. The publisher tool to create auto-narrated audiobooks is currently in beta, but it will roll out to all publishers in early 2021.

3. Use Voice Access to navigate your device 

Easily use and navigate your phone by speaking out loud with Voice Access

Click on the image above to see a video showing how Voice Access can help you navigate your smartphone

Built with people with motor disabilities in mind, Voice Access lets you control your phone using your voice. Now using machine learning technology, you can add labels to the screens of your Android apps to help you work within them with your voice. For example, you can say “open Photos”, “tap Search”, “tap Your Map” to see a map of all your photos. This makes navigation convenient and hands-free, using just your voice. Previously rolled out on Android 11, this new version of Voice Access is now available globally on all devices running Android 6.0 and above. You can download Voice Access on Google Play and try the new version out by joining the Beta today.

4. Get around with the Go Tab

New Go Tab in Google Maps is available today

Click on the image above to see the video of the new Go Tab in Google Maps

With the new Go Tab in Google Maps, you can more easily navigate to frequently-visited places with just one tap. Pin your favorite driving destinations like school or a grocery store to quickly see directions, live traffic trends, disruptions on your route, and an accurate ETA—all without typing the place’s address. If you take public transit, you can pin specific routes, which will let you see accurate departure and arrival times, alerts from your local transit agency, and an up-to-date ETA right from the Go Tab. You can even pin multiple routes (including a driving route and a transit route) to the same destination to see which one will get you there most efficiently. The Go Tab starts rolling out on Android and iOS in the coming weeks. 


Be sure to check out other helpful Google Maps features on Android, like live transit crowdedness and Assistant driving mode to help you navigate and get things done this holiday season.


5. Android Auto expands to more countries

Android Auto is rolling out to more countries


Over the next few months, Android Auto will be expanding to new countries, bringing your favorite apps and services from your phone onto your car display. With Android Auto, you can talk to Google to play music, send messages, get directions, and more, so you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. With phones running Android 10 and above, all you need to do to get started is plug your Android phone into a compatible car. For Android 9 and earlier phones, you can download the app.


6. Share your favorite apps with Nearby Share

Send and receive apps without cell or wifi connection

An upcoming update to Nearby Share will let you share apps from Google Play with the people around you with an Android phone, even if you don’t have a cell or Wi-Fi connection. Simply open Google Play, go to the “Share Apps” menu in “My Apps & Games,” select the apps you want to share, and let your friend accept the incoming apps. This update will roll out in the coming weeks.

A closer look at 2020’s best apps and games from Google Play

Today, Google Play announced the winners of our Best of 2020 awards, a celebration of apps, games, books, movies and other top content. As we close out this year, we’re taking a look at the apps reshaping our world, and the games giving us an opportunity to explore new ones. 

Apps: a year of personal growth

2020 changed the way we all live, work, and go about the routines that keep us grounded. It was a year of self-reflection and improvement, and many apps played a role in helping us find a path forward.

In the U.S., Chris Hemsworth helped us find our healthy “Centr” by connecting us with trainers, chefs and wellbeing experts, while Intellect helped us focus on our traits, habits, and behaviors to overcome personal challenges with the help of a digital companion, through psychological training.

At the end of each day, we needed time to relax and recharge. So it’s only fitting that Disney+ claimed the U.S. Users’ Choice award for allowing us to dive into the Disney vault–Scrooge McDuck style. We sat back and relaxed with a wealth of content, from old fan favorites to new releases like The Mandalorian. To cap it off, our editors selected Loóna as this year’s Best App for rethinking how we ease into sleep and helping us unwind.

Games: a year captivated by casual 

This year’s selection of games varied more than ever, proving that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

From embarking on breathtaking adventures in The Gardens Between, to channeling our inner wizards in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, then exploring the meaning of friendship through Sky: Children of the Light, 2020’s best games in the U.S. warmed our hearts and challenged our minds. 

The game that embodied this sentiment best is the one that brought us back to Bikini Bottom. That’s right, you rocked the vote and crowned SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off the 2020 U.S. Users’ Choice winner. And Genshin Impact impressed our editors, winning Best Game for giving users a wondrous world to explore and countless mysteries to unravel. 

Discover this year’sbest games and best apps, and check out the full list of winners in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store. 

A closer look at 2020’s best apps and games from Google Play

Today, Google Play announced the winners of our Best of 2020 awards, a celebration of apps, games, books, movies and other top content. As we close out this year, we’re taking a look at the apps reshaping our world, and the games giving us an opportunity to explore new ones. 

Apps: a year of personal growth

2020 changed the way we all live, work, and go about the routines that keep us grounded. It was a year of self-reflection and improvement, and many apps played a role in helping us find a path forward.

In the U.S., Chris Hemsworth helped us find our healthy “Centr” by connecting us with trainers, chefs and wellbeing experts, while Intellect helped us focus on our traits, habits, and behaviors to overcome personal challenges with the help of a digital companion, through psychological training.

At the end of each day, we needed time to relax and recharge. So it’s only fitting that Disney+ claimed the U.S. Users’ Choice award for allowing us to dive into the Disney vault–Scrooge McDuck style. We sat back and relaxed with a wealth of content, from old fan favorites to new releases like The Mandalorian. To cap it off, our editors selected Loóna as this year’s Best App for rethinking how we ease into sleep and helping us unwind.

Games: a year captivated by casual 

This year’s selection of games varied more than ever, proving that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

From embarking on breathtaking adventures in The Gardens Between, to channeling our inner wizards in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, then exploring the meaning of friendship through Sky: Children of the Light, 2020’s best games in the U.S. warmed our hearts and challenged our minds. 

The game that embodied this sentiment best is the one that brought us back to Bikini Bottom. That’s right, you rocked the vote and crowned SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off the 2020 U.S. Users’ Choice winner. And Genshin Impact impressed our editors, winning Best Game for giving users a wondrous world to explore and countless mysteries to unravel. 

Discover this year’sbest games and best apps, and check out the full list of winners in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store. 

Google Play’s Best of 2020

This year, the world came together over games, apps, movies and books, even when we were apart. Together, Google Play fans dove into four new and compelling novellas in “If It Bleeds,” as each took us intriguing places with the master of horror himself, Stephen King. We took one last ride with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the third installment of the “Bad Boys” universe. We embarked on a relaxing journey with “Loóna,” the app that guided us to better sleep through immersive stories. We also explored new lands as games like “Genshin Impact” gave us a stunning peek into the world of Teyvat. These titles are part of Google Play's Best of 2020, and there are even more games and apps to celebrate.


Explore the lists below to see what titles users and Google Play editors loved–and check out the full lists in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store.


Users’ Choice 2020 (U.S.)


Best Game of 2020 (U.S.): Genshin Impact


Best App of 2020 (U.S.): Loóna: Bedtime Calm & Relax


Best Movies of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite movies of 2020 on Google Play


Best Books of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite books of 2020 on Google Play

Google Play’s Best of 2020

This year, the world came together over games, apps, movies and books, even when we were apart. Together, Google Play fans dove into four new and compelling novellas in “If It Bleeds,” as each took us intriguing places with the master of horror himself, Stephen King. We took one last ride with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the third installment of the “Bad Boys” universe. We embarked on a relaxing journey with “Loóna,” the app that guided us to better sleep through immersive stories. We also explored new lands as games like “Genshin Impact” gave us a stunning peek into the world of Teyvat. These titles are part of Google Play's Best of 2020, and there are even more games and apps to celebrate.


Explore the lists below to see what titles users and Google Play editors loved–and check out the full lists in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store.


Users’ Choice 2020 (U.S.)


Best Game of 2020 (U.S.): Genshin Impact


Best App of 2020 (U.S.): Loóna: Bedtime Calm & Relax


Best Movies of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite movies of 2020 on Google Play


Best Books of 2020 - Top Five (U.S.)


See the full list of our favorite books of 2020 on Google Play

Celebrating the Developers Behind the Best Apps and Games of 2020

Posted by Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director, Business Development, Games & Applications

Today, we announced Google Play’s annual Best of 2020 awards, highlighting the year’s best apps, games and digital content. None of this would be possible without the developers that created the amazing content that made a profound impact on us in 2020, or should we say a Genshin Impact … From miHoYo Limited to Loona Inc, the makers behind your favorite apps and games were unafraid to experiment, challenge the status quo, and design incredible experiences we never thought possible.

Check out the full rundown of the developers behind the best apps and games of 2020 in the U.S. on Google Play:

Best App of 2020

Best Personal Growth Apps

Best Hidden Gem Apps

Best Everyday Essential Apps

Best Apps for Good

Best Apps for Fun

Best Game of 2020

Best Indie Games

Best Casual Games

Best Innovative Games

Best Competitive Games

Google Play Best of 2020 Winners for India


It’s that time of year where we celebrate the best of Google Play in India! More than ever before, this year we were brought together by our favourite apps and games, even when we were apart. And this time around, we’ve added a few goodies in our Best of Play picks including new categories that you’ll find especially relevant and useful, such as special picks for the best apps for personal growth and everyday essentials.


There’s also a callout to the ‘App for Good’, which you’ll find particularly useful in these times. This app happens to be by an Indian developer, as does the Best App of 2020! 


You also rocked the vote to crown your favorites… and the tallies are in.  And so, it’s time to celebrate the year’s top titles across Google Play.


Your 2020 Users’ Choice winners for games and apps are World Cricket Championship 3 – WCC3 and Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint & More.


Explore the complete lists below to see what the Google Play editors loved and what topped the charts in India this year. And check out the full lists in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store.

 

BEST APP OF 2020

 

Best apps for Fun

 

Best apps for Personal Growth

 

Best apps for Everyday Essentials

 

Best Hidden Gems

 

Best App for Good: InnerHour Self-Care Therapy - Anxiety & Depression



BEST GAME OF 2020

 

Best competitive games

 

Best Innovative games

Best Casual games

 

Best Indie games


Posted by Brett Bouchard, Global Head of Editorial, Google Play

“The Mandalorian” in AR? This is the way.

In a galaxy far, far away, the Mandalorian and the Child continue their journey, facing enemies and rallying allies in the tumultuous era after the collapse of the Galactic Empire. But you don’t need a tracking fob to explore the world of the hit STAR WARS streaming series. Google and Lucasfilm have teamed up to bring iconic moments from the first season of “The Mandalorian” to life with “The Mandalorian” AR Experience (available on the Play Store for 5G Google Pixels and other select 5G Android phones) as fans follow the show’s second season. (Check your phone to see if it meets app requirements.)

Animated GIF showing a person's hand holding a Pixel phone while using the Mandalorian AR app.

From dinosaurs to astronauts, Google has been bringing objects and creatures to life with augmented reality. Now, people using compatible Android 5G devices can interact with heroes from the Mandalorian in their own space.

“The Mandalorian” AR Experience puts you in the shoes of a bounty hunter following the trail of Mando himself, Din Djarin and the Child. Explore the world of “The Mandalorian,” interact with characters in augmented reality and capture your very own scenes to share with friends.

To create this original experience, Google, Disney and Lucasfilm worked together to imagine a next-generation augmented reality app optimized for 5G devices. Our teams collaborated to build hyper-detailed models and life-like animations—all while packing scenes with fun surprises.

UsingARCore,Google’s developer platform for building augmented reality experiences, we created scenes that interact with your environment and respond to your surroundings. You can discover and unlock even more effects based on your actions. And thanks to the new ARCore Depth API, we also enabled occlusion, allowing 3D scenes to blend more naturally with our world.

Animated GIF showing the character the Mandalorian in AR standing in someone's kitchen on the screen of a Pixel phone.

New content will keep rolling out in the app each week onMando Mondays, so stay tuned—and Pixel owners should keep an eye out for additional exclusive content outside of the app as well.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & ™ 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

Source: Android


New Android App Bundle and target API level requirements in 2021

Posted by Hoi Lam, Developer Relations Engineer, Android Platform

Android app bundle image

In 2021, we are continuing with our annual target API level update, requiring new apps to target API level 30 (Android 11) in August and in November for all app updates. In addition, as announced earlier this year, Google Play will require new apps to use the Android App Bundle publishing format. This brings the benefits of smaller apps and simpler releases to more users and developers and supports ongoing investment in advanced distribution.

Over 750,000 apps and games already publish to production on Google Play using app bundles. Top apps switching save an average size of 15% versus a universal APK. Users benefit from smaller downloads and developers like Netflix and Riafy see higher install success rates, which is especially impactful in regions with more entry level devices and slower data speeds. Developers switching can use advanced distribution features such as Play Asset Delivery and Play Feature Delivery. We value your feedback and plan to introduce further features and options for Play App Signing and Android App Bundles before the switchover.


Requirements for new apps

From August 2021, the Google Play Console will require all new apps to:


Requirements for updates to existing apps

From November 2021, updates to existing apps will be required to target API level 30 or above and adjust for behavioral changes in Android 11. Existing apps that are not receiving updates are unaffected and can continue to be downloaded from the Play Store.

Requirements for instant experiences

The switch to Android App Bundle delivery will also impact instant experiences using the legacy Instant app ZIP format. From August 2021, new instant experiences and updates to existing instant experiences will be required to publish instant-enabled app bundles.


Moving forward together

Here is a summary of all the changes:


TYPE OF RELEASE

REPLACED

REQUIRED AUG 2021

New apps 
on Google Play

APK

Android App Bundle (AAB)

Target API level set to 29+

Target API level set to 30+

Expansion files (OBBs)

Play Asset Delivery or 
Play Feature Delivery

TYPE OF RELEASE

REPLACED

REQUIRED NOV 2021

Updates to existing apps 
on Google Play

No new publishing format requirement

Target API level set to 29+

Target API level set to 30+



Wear OS apps are not subject to the new target API level requirement.

Apps can still use any minSdkVersion, so there is no change to your ability to build apps for older Android versions.

To learn more about transitioning to app bundles, watch our new video series: modern Android development (MAD) skills. We are extremely grateful for all the developers who have adopted app bundles and API level 30 already. We look forward to advancing the Android platform together with you.