Tag Archives: Play Console

All developers will get the new Google Play Console on November 2, 2020

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play Console

We hope you’re enjoying the new Google Play Console. With over 350,000 people now using it as their default experience and thousands more providing feedback, the new Play Console is ready to come out of beta. Thank you to everyone who has helped to get it here. This means that the old Play Console will be discontinued starting November 2, 2020. After this date, you’ll be automatically directed to the new Play Console when you log into your account.

If you haven't tried it already, we recommend that you switch to the new version now. To get started, visit play.google.com/console.

The new Play Console’s responsive design means that you can use it across all of your devices. The new navigation makes it easier to find and understand important features, and we’ve added areas to help you better understand your release status, acquisition performance, and guidance on policy changes.

Thanks to your feedback, we’ve already made a lot of improvements:

  • We reorganized the releases area of the navigation. Production is now at the top level, and we've grouped all testing tracks together. Internal app sharing has moved to Setup.
  • Speed and performance on different browsers have increased, and we’ve made UI tweaks such as making text boxes resizable, introducing unread notices for messages, and refining headers on mobile so they use space more efficiently.
  • We launched Inbox, your personalized messaging area featuring helpful information, policy updates, feature recommendations, and more.
  • The new Publishing overview page lets you see what changes are in review. Managed publishing gives you control over your launch by allowing you to decide when approved changes are actually published.
  • Acquisition reports have been completely overhauled to help you understand your performance over time. This includes discontinuing some cohort-based metrics. These will not be available in the new console. If you want to keep a record of this data, please download it from the old Play Console before November 2. Find out more
  • You can still link to your Google Ads account for conversion tracking and remarketing lists, but Google Ads campaign reporting and account notifications will now be available exclusively in Google Ads.
  • You can now search across Play Console, making it easier to find pages and features quickly.
  • And lastly, we announced that later this year, all Play Console users will need to use 2-Step Verification.

To learn more about the new Play Console, you can:

  • Get a high-level overview of what’s new in this blog post.
  • Watch these videos for more in-depth information about the biggest changes.
  • Take a course on the Academy for App Success to become an expert on the new experience.
  • Dive into key features and find supporting information in the new education pages.

Thank you for being a part of our community, and we hope you enjoy the new Play Console!

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All developers will get the new Google Play Console on November 2, 2020

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play Console

We hope you’re enjoying the new Google Play Console. With over 350,000 people now using it as their default experience and thousands more providing feedback, the new Play Console is ready to come out of beta. Thank you to everyone who has helped to get it here. This means that the old Play Console will be discontinued starting November 2, 2020. After this date, you’ll be automatically directed to the new Play Console when you log into your account.

If you haven't tried it already, we recommend that you switch to the new version now. To get started, visit play.google.com/console.

The new Play Console’s responsive design means that you can use it across all of your devices. The new navigation makes it easier to find and understand important features, and we’ve added areas to help you better understand your release status, acquisition performance, and guidance on policy changes.

Thanks to your feedback, we’ve already made a lot of improvements:

  • We reorganized the releases area of the navigation. Production is now at the top level, and we've grouped all testing tracks together. Internal app sharing has moved to Setup.
  • Speed and performance on different browsers have increased, and we’ve made UI tweaks such as making text boxes resizable, introducing unread notices for messages, and refining headers on mobile so they use space more efficiently.
  • We launched Inbox, your personalized messaging area featuring helpful information, policy updates, feature recommendations, and more.
  • The new Publishing overview page lets you see what changes are in review. Managed publishing gives you control over your launch by allowing you to decide when approved changes are actually published.
  • Acquisition reports have been completely overhauled to help you understand your performance over time. This includes discontinuing some cohort-based metrics. These will not be available in the new console. If you want to keep a record of this data, please download it from the old Play Console before November 2. Find out more
  • You can still link to your Google Ads account for conversion tracking and remarketing lists, but Google Ads campaign reporting and account notifications will now be available exclusively in Google Ads.
  • You can now search across Play Console, making it easier to find pages and features quickly.
  • And lastly, we announced that later this year, all Play Console users will need to use 2-Step Verification.

To learn more about the new Play Console, you can:

  • Get a high-level overview of what’s new in this blog post.
  • Watch these videos for more in-depth information about the biggest changes.
  • Take a course on the Academy for App Success to become an expert on the new experience.
  • Dive into key features and find supporting information in the new education pages.

Thank you for being a part of our community, and we hope you enjoy the new Play Console!

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Recent Android App Bundle improvements and timeline for new apps on Google Play

Posted by Posted by Dom Elliott and Yafit Becher, Product Managers at Google Play

Google
Android

In a little over two years, the Android App Bundle has become the gold standard for publishing on Google Play. Over 600,000 apps and games currently use the app bundle in production, representing over 40% of all releases on Google Play. App bundles are used by 50% of the top developers on Google Play — such as Adobe, which used app bundles to reduce the size of Adobe Acrobat Reader by 20%.

We recently launched Play Asset Delivery (PAD), bringing the great benefits of app bundles to games and allowing developers to improve the user experience while cutting delivery costs and reducing the size of their games. Gameloft used PAD to improve user retention, resulting in 10% more new players than with their previous asset delivery system.

For those of you making the switch, we’ve published some FAQs on Play App Signing — required for app bundles — as well as guidance on how to test your app bundle. Read on to find out more about the recent improvements we’ve made to developing, testing, and publishing with app bundles.

Play Feature Delivery

The app bundle enables modular app development using dynamic feature modules with a range of customizable delivery options. It’s now possible to shrink resources in dynamic feature modules as well as your base module when building modular apps. This long-requested feature can result in significantly greater size reduction of your apps. The feature is available from Android Studio 4.2, currently in Canary, under the experimental flag: android.experimental.enableNewResourceShrinker=true.

By default, install time modules are now automatically fused when app bundles are processed into distribution APKs (starting in bundletool 1.0.0). This means you can separate your app into modules during development while reducing the number of APKs distributed to each device, which will speed up your app’s download and installation. You can choose to set a “removable flag” for install-time modules to prevent fusing, which allows you to uninstall a module on the device after it’s been used. It’s a good idea to remove large modules once they’re no longer needed — reducing the size of your app can make it less likely to be uninstalled.

Feature-to-feature dependency is now stable in Android Studio 4.0, so you can specify that a dynamic feature module depends on another feature module. Being able to define this relationship ensures that your app has the required modules to unlock additional functionality, resulting in fewer requests and easier modularization of your app.

We know that it is critical for you to test your app delivery and get the same experience as your users would in the wild. Internal app sharing lets you upload test builds to Play and get a sharable link to download your app. When downloading your app from this link, you get an identical binary as would be served to users once your app is released to Play.

Play Asset Delivery

Play Asset Delivery extends the app bundle format, allowing you to package up to 2GB of game assets alongside the binary in a single artifact published on Google Play. PAD lets games larger than 150MB replace the legacy expansion files (OBBs) and rely on Play to keep assets up to date, just like you do with your game binary. It also takes care of compression and delta patching, minimizing the size of the download and getting your game to update faster.

Google

The contents of an Android App Bundle with one base module, two dynamic feature modules, and two asset packs.

You can then choose one of three delivery modes, depending on when you want those assets to be served to users: upfront, as part of the initial game installation; on-demand, so assets will be delivered only upon request; or fast-follow, which will trigger an additional download immediately after the game installation completes, independently of the user opening the app. Fast-follow lets you minimize time to first interaction while getting assets to users as quickly as possible.

In the coming months, we’ll release texture compression format targeting, which will allow you to include multiple texture compression format assets and rely on us to deliver them to the most advanced format supported by the requesting device.

Learn more in this session from our Game Developer Summit and check out the documentation to see integration options for Unity, Unreal Engine, Gradle, Native, and Java support.

Google Play’s best-in-class distribution

Google Play delivers billions of apps, games, updates, and dynamic feature modules every month to Android users on thousands of device types around the world. We invest a lot of time and energy into making sure your content is delivered to users as seamlessly and efficiently as possible while hiding the complexity from the user experience.

For example, we recently upgraded the download service Google Play uses. This change alone has sped up the installation of app bundle apps by an average of 6% and increased install success globally by 1%, resulting in millions more new installs for developers every week.

We’re also rolling out multiple improvements to dynamic feature module distribution, such as allowing them to be installed when your app is VISIBLE or higher, lowering the free storage threshold that triggers insufficient storage errors, and removing user confirmation for large dynamic features over Wi-Fi. This alone has resulted in 12% more successful deferred module downloads. Apps using dynamic features will benefit from these changes automatically.

Requirement for new apps in the second half of 2021

We’re continuing to make app bundles a better publishing format than APKs on Google Play. For example, the new app bundle explorer lets you manage all your app bundles in one place. You can download and attest the exact APKs that Play generates for delivery, as well as a signed, universal APK (a single, installable APK that includes all code and resources needed for supported devices) that you can use on other distribution channels.

We’ve been thrilled to see the app bundle embraced by the app and game ecosystem, and we’re excited to continue to improve it. As we announced in the Android 11 event, to help us invest in future improvements, we intend to require new apps and games to publish with the Android App Bundle on Google Play in the second half of 2021. In the same timeframe, we will deprecate legacy APK expansion files (OBBs), making Play Asset Delivery the standard option for publishing games over 150MB. We will also require instant experiences to be published via instant-enabled app bundles, deprecating the legacy instant app ZIP format.

Thank you to everyone who has already made the switch to the Android App Bundle, and a special thanks to those of you who’ve shared your feedback. Your comments help us shape the future of app bundles and improve the technology for everyone, so please continue to let us know what you think.


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Protecting your Google Play Console account with 2-Step Verification

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play Console

Google Play Console has something for everyone, from QAs and PMs to engineers and marketing managers. The new Google Play Console beta, available now at play.google.com/console, offers customized, secure access to everyone on your team. For a closer look at some of its new features and workflows, tune in to this week’s series of live webinars, which will also be available on demand.

Granting your team members safe access to specific features in your developer account is one of the best ways to increase the value of our tools for your organization. We want to make sure that your developer account is as safe as possible so you feel confident when granting access. A key way to do that is to make sure that every person who has access to your account signs in using secure methods that follow best practices. That’s why, towards the end of this year, we’re going to start requiring users of Google Play Console to sign in using Google's 2-Step Verification.

Google

2-Step Verification uses both your password and a second way to identify you for added security. This could be a text message to a registered phone, an authenticator app, alerts on supported devices, or a hardware security key. Normally, you only have to do this when you sign in for the first time on a new computer. It’s one of the easiest ways to increase the level of security for you and your team members’ accounts.

Learn more about 2-Step Verification here, and how to set it up for your own account.

If you have any comments or concerns about using 2-Step Verification to sign in to Google Play Console, or if you think it will impact you or your teams’ use of Google Play Console, use this form to let us know. All responses will be read by our product team and will help us shape our future plans.

Your team won’t be required to use 2-Step Verification immediately, although we recommend that you set it up now. We will start mandating 2-Step Verification with new users to Google Play Console towards the end of Q3, followed by existing users with high-risk permissions like app publishing or changing the prices in in-app products, later in the year. We’ll also remind every impacted user in Google Play Console at least 30 days before the change takes effect. We may also start to re-verify when you’re undertaking a sensitive action like changing your developer name or transferring ownership of an app.

Hundreds of thousands of Google Play Console users already use 2-Step Verification to keep their accounts safe, and it's been the default for G Suite customers for years. But we understand that requiring this may impact some of your existing workflows, which is why we’re giving advance notice of this change and asking for your feedback.

We can all take steps to keep our accounts and the developer community safe. Thanks for publishing your apps on Google Play.


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Meet Google Play Billing Library Version 3

Posted by Steve Hartford, Product Manager, Google Play

Google Play is committed to a healthy ecosystem, where developers succeed by creating high-quality apps that users love. Many developers realize that success using Google Play’s one-time purchase and subscription services. Over the last decade, we’ve improved the purchase experience for Android users with features like paying via carrier billing (with over 180 supported carriers today), and tools to budget expenses and easily manage subscriptions.

We’re furthering these efforts with the launch of Billing Library version 3. Now available, this newest version includes new ways users can pay, subscription promotion capabilities, purchase attribution for games, and improvements to purchase reliability and security. Starting August 2, 2021, all new apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer. By November 1, 2021, all updates to existing apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer.

Paying with Cash

We continuously work to ensure users worldwide can pay for your one-time purchases and subscriptions in a way that’s comfortable and convenient.

Cash remains the most widely used payment method globally with 2.7 trillion transactions across all goods and services in 2018 (Source: Euromonitor). Last year we previewed a new payment method in which the transaction is completed off-device, such as paying with cash at a local convenience store. According to World Bank, two billion people worldwide do not have access to a bank account, so these pending transactions can help unlock new buyers, especially in emerging markets where cash is a popular form of payment.

Today we’re announcing users can easily pay for one-time purchases with cash in Indonesia and Malaysia at over 50,000 locations, including at leading retailers such as 7-Eleven and Alfamart. Pending transactions will be available soon for all developers.

Cash Purchases using Billing Library 3

Cash Purchases using Billing Library 3

More places for users to discover and purchase

Billing Library version 3 unlocks the ability for users to discover and purchase items outside of your app, such as across the Play store. One example is the new frictionless subscription promo code redemption experience. Now when you offer promo codes for subscription free trials, users can easily redeem them in the Play store - even if your app isn’t installed yet. It’s a simple redeem, subscribe and install experience that reduces the effort required for users to get going.

Purchase Attribution

Many games and apps need to ensure in-app purchases are attributed to a specific in-game character, avatar, or profile. Billing Library now allows you to specify this information when launching the purchase flow. After the purchase completes, you can retrieve the information and correctly attribute the purchase. This removes the need to build a custom solution using the deprecated AIDL developer payload.

Billing Library Version Requirements

Just like Play’s TargetSDK requirements, it’s important that all users are able to benefit from any security, performance, and user experience improvements in new versions of Billing Library. At Google I/O in 2019, we released Billing Library version 2 and announced changes including a two-year support window for each major release.

This means starting August 2, 2021, all new apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer. By November 1, 2021, all updates to existing apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer.

After these dates, you won’t be able to publish apps that use older AIDL, Billing Library version 1 or Billing Library version 2 integrations. Apps already in the Play Store can continue to be downloaded and will process in-app purchases. Any subsequent app upgrades, however, will require Billing Library version 3 or newer.

Billing Library version support

Billing Library version support

Availability

Billing Library version 3 is available today for all game and app developers in Java and Kotlin flavors. For game developers using Unity, we also launched a Billing Library 3-based Unity IAP plugin. This plugin allows Unity developers to meet the Billing Library version requirements and access all Play billing features.

Please upgrade any billing-related SDKs and libraries to versions supporting Billing Library version 3. Reach out to the SDK or library owner if one is not available. We’re working with top providers on their Billing Library version 3 compatibility.

Next Steps

While we recommend upgrading annually, we will be supporting each major release for two years. We recommend developers use Billing Library version 3 today for all new apps, and migrate existing billing integrations as soon as feasible - well ahead of the 2021 deadlines.

For developers who haven’t moved to Billing Library, we realize the transition from AIDL can be non-trivial for existing apps, and we want to help make the move as smooth as possible. We’ve created a migration guide for apps currently using AIDL, and there’s also a video walkthrough.

We’ve also updated our documentation - including guides for purchase attribution, using promo codes, and fighting abuse. Please let us know about any implementation issues - here’s how to contact us.

For details on all the Play Commerce platform improvements, watch our “What’s New” video session.

We’re looking forward to working with you to deliver great purchase experiences in your apps and games.

Introducing the new Google Play Console beta

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play Console

Over the years, we’ve seen our community grow to well over a million developers, from one-person shops to companies with hundreds of Google Play Console users. As you’ve grown, Play Console has grown with you. But as we added new features to keep up with your changing needs, Play Console became increasingly busy and a little difficult to navigate. So we’ve redesigned it from the ground up to ensure it continues to help you grow your business on Google Play for years to come.

Today, you can try out the new Google Play Console by joining the beta. Visit Play Console at its new home: play.google.com/console

We’ve designed the new Play Console to be more helpful. Now you can:

  • More easily find, discover, and understand important features
  • Get new guidance on policy changes, release status, advice, and user feedback
  • Better understand performance insights with new acquisition reports
  • Inspect each of your app bundles and understand how Google Play optimizes artifacts for your users
  • Safely enable everyone on your team to use our features with new user management options.

On behalf of the whole team at Google Play, I’m excited to share the beta with you and to get your feedback. Many thanks to the hundreds of developers who have already provided feedback — your input helps us improve Play Console for the entire developer community.

Clearer and easier to use

The new Google Play Console is built on Google Material, the UI design system for all Google-branded products. This brings a number of advantages as explained by the project’s lead designer, Jesse Orme:

This design system is easier to read and scan, using typography and space to delineate sections and enable clear information hierarchy. A consistent and considered set of styles and components ensure that features are as easy and intuitive to use as possible, even if you’re new to them."

The new Play Console is also responsive, so you can use it across your devices, at home, at work, or when you’re on the move. The responsive design also supports right-to-left languages including Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew. The team is putting the finishing touches on our mobile layouts now, so these features will roll out to the beta in the coming weeks.

New navigation

Because many Play Console users can be domain specialists like Growth Managers or QAs, we’ve designed the new navigation to reflect how you work, making it easier to find all the tools for your job.

The navigation groups related features based on what you want to achieve. For instance, all of your acquisition setup, reporting, and optimization tools are now collected in a single “Grow” section. We’re also adding a search feature to the beta soon, so you can jump to specific features or pages more quickly.

Google Play Console navigation

The new navigation organizes features based on your goals

Similarly, we’ve made the distinction between your production track and your internal, closed, and open testing tracks much clearer. This reflects best practices and will make it easier for your team to understand the status of app’s tracks at a glance so you can release with confidence.

Clearer overviews

The new releases overview gives you a snapshot of all your tracks, so now you can see information about your internal, closed, and open testing tracks, as well as your production track. Quickly see how many users are testing your app or the latest countries you’ve rolled out to.

Releases overview on Play Console

The new Releases overview lets you see information about all your tracks at a glance

Easier publishing

We've renamed Timed Publishing to Managed Publishing. Use it to see a summary of your changes that are in review and control when to publish on Google Play. Managed Publishing also helps you understand all the changes that have been submitted across your releases, store listings, and more. For those of you with larger teams, you can now review and coordinate all your changes in one place so everything is published at the same time.

Managed Publishing on Google Play Console

Submit your updates for review and launch them when you’re ready with Managed Publishing

The Artifact library has evolved into the new App Bundle Explorer, which you can find in the “Release” section. You can inspect the app bundles you’ve uploaded to Play and understand how Google Play processes them to generate optimized serving artifacts. Download everything Play generates, including APKs for pre-installing on devices and standalone APKs, access an install link for historical versions for testing purposes, and see detailed dynamic delivery information.

And when you’re launching a new app, check out our new guided setup to help you get to production with confidence.

Set up your app on Google Play Console

Guided setup includes best practices to help you get to production with confidence

More ways to get the answers you need, fast

Important information is now even easier to find, with more ways to get the answers you need, right when you need them.

Clearer policy and compliance information

The new Policy status and App content sections make it easier for you to provide information Google Play needs to confirm that your apps are compliant with our policies, and to quickly see if there’s an issue that needs addressing. We know this can be a source of worry, so we designed these new sections to help guide you through the process, and they will continue to grow over time.

App content section on Google Play Console

The App content section makes it easier to provide the information Google Play needs to confirm that your apps comply with our policies

Inbox

Rolling out soon, the new Play Console Inbox collects everything we think you’ll need to know about your apps and games. Never miss an important message, update, recommendation, or milestone.

new Google Play Console Inbox

Find important messages about your apps and games in the new Play Console Inbox

Easier education

Many of you told us that you don’t feel like you’re using the full capabilities of Google Play Console because you’re not sure what features are available or how best to use them. To help, key features now include educational pages to help your teams understand their value and how to add them to your workflows. These also serve as a hub for related information, like our comprehensive documentation on the Help Center, Play Academy courses, developer case studies, and more.

Play Console Statistics educational pages

Educational pages help you understand key features and and how to add them to your workflows

These pages can be accessed without a Play Console account so you can easily share them.

Visit the new educational pages at play.google.com/console/about

Understanding your performance

Many of you told us that you value Google Play Console’s acquisition reports because they help you understand the impact of your store listing optimization and marketing investment. But you also told us that the current report made it challenging to see how your performance was trending over time, and you wanted to analyze performance across multiple dimensions together, such as country and acquisition source.

The new acquisition reports focus on trend analysis, understanding relationships between metrics, and now support expanded dimensions including language, store listing, and reacquisition.

Store listing conversion analytics on Google Play Console

New filters and dimensions let you see trends by acquisition type and region to really understand your performance

Advanced filters and dimensions let you drill down by acquisition type and region to really understand your performance. For instance, did your campaign to increase organic installs in France pay off? Now you can find out.

Rolling out soon, deeply integrated benchmarks — including over 100 app and game categories, plus countries and regions — can help you identify areas for growth and where you’re leading the market.

Better, safer team management

Another area we’ve enhanced is team-member management. The new Google Play Console includes features, insights, and data to help every member of your team, from your engineers, PMs, and QAs to your marketing managers and executives. We know that granting broad access to everyone in your organization could be a challenge, with permissions that were sometimes hard to understand, and a UI that made managing large numbers of team members difficult.

We’ve updated the new team-member management area with better, more granular controls. Written in collaboration with developers, new permission names and descriptions are clearer, so you can understand what you are — and aren’t — allowing people to do. There’s clearer differentiation between global and app-level permissions, and we’ve added full user search and bulk-edit capabilities to make managing your teams easier.

Users and Permissions on Google Play Console

Safely grant your team members access to Play Console’s features with granular permission controls

We want as many people as possible to benefit from Play Console’s tools, and these changes should help you grant access with confidence.

Try the new Play Console beta today

The features above are just the beginning — every page on Google Play Console has been enhanced. Features like Pre-launch reports, Android vitals, Statistics, and Play Game Services have all been made more usable and helpful.

Visit play.google.com/console to check out the beta today. Once you do, please share your thoughts using this feedback form or in Play Console using the button on the top right. Your feedback is crucial to helping our teams build better products for you.

Thank you for being a part of our community, and we hope you enjoy the new Play Console!

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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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Modern app and game distribution on Google Play

Posted by Kobi Glick, Product Lead, Google Play

Today we’re kicking off Playtime, our annual event series where we host developers from all over the world to discuss features and best practices to help you grow your apps and games businesses. Last month’s Android Dev Summit focused on modern Android development. Here on the Google Play team, we’re focusing on modern app and game distribution — our set of powerful and customizable distribution features and tools that work together to power your success on Google Play.

The future of Android distribution

The Android App Bundle is foundational to modern app and game distribution, replacing the monolithic APK. Since it launched 18 months ago, over 270K apps and games have made the switch, representing over 25% of active installs. Those that switched have seen an average size savings of 20% compared to a universal APK and more efficient releases as a result.

A recent internal analysis revealed that users with storage-constrained devices are much more likely to uninstall apps, so optimizing how much space your app needs is important. Our new metrics on the app size report in the Play Console can show you how many of your active users have little free storage on their devices and if they’re uninstalling more than other users.

New tools to speed up your workflows and engineering velocity

Testing app bundles is now much easier with internal app sharing. Make anyone in your company an uploader without giving them access to the Play Console and they’ll be able to share test builds of your app as easily as they used to share APKs. 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, you can upload debuggable artifacts, and you’ll soon be able to get install links for old versions of your app, too.

The app bundle also lets you modularize your app with dynamic feature modules. Modularization speeds up build times and engineering velocity, since different teams can design, build, test, and debug features in parallel rather than working on the same complex code for a monolithic app. Based on your feedback, we’ve made it easier to develop modular apps with tools such as the new Dynamic Feature Navigator library and FakeSplitInstallManager, which lets you test on-demand delivery while offline instead of waiting for the Play Store.

Get more users on your latest release with improved in-app updates

In-app updates let you prompt users to update to the latest version of your app, without them having to leave your app. More than 10% of the top apps and games are already using in-app updates with an average acceptance rate of 24%. Based on your feedback, we’re also giving you more control over how and when you show update prompts:

  • Set an update priority per release to determine whether the user is interrupted with an immediate or flexible update flow or no prompt at all.
  • Get app staleness, the number of days the app on this device has had an update available without upgrading. You can use both priority and staleness as you’d like when determining which update flow to trigger.
  • You can check the download progress of a flexible update so that you can display your own progress bar in your app.
  • Finally, you can now test your in-app update flows using internal app sharing.

Modern game distribution

For some games with rich content, the 150MB app bundle size limit is not enough. Using expansion files or content delivery networks can get around this but could introduce complexity when you’re building and releasing your game, and can result in a poor user experience. That’s why we’re extending the app bundle format to support asset delivery with a new delivery construct called asset packs which can go up to multiple gigabytes.

Asset packs are packaged in the app bundle alongside your binary, so you can publish a single artifact to Play that contains everything your game needs, giving you full control of your asset delivery. Play’s asset delivery will also enable texture compression targeting, so that your users only get the assets suitable for their device with no wasted space or bandwidth. And you can rely on Play to keep your assets up to date, just as it does with your game binary. We’re currently testing this with some early partners and hope to make it more widely available soon.

Here’s to another successful Playtime

Look out for the sessions from this year’s Playtime, which will be added to the Android Developers YouTube channel. We look forward to sharing more tools and services for your apps and games, made possible by the app bundle and our new dynamic framework. And as always, please give us your feedback and let us know what you think.

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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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