Tag Archives: Play Console

Monitor all your deep links in one place on this new Play Console page

Posted by Yaift Becher, Product Manager, Google Play and Luís Dorelli, Engineer, Google Play

Deep links are a great way to improve engagement with your in-app content and the overall user experience by accepting traffic from external sources, including the web. Keeping your deep links in good shape, however, can be a challenge, so many apps have partial, broken, or no deep links configured. For some developers, even answering basic questions like “is this URL deep-linked?” or “why is this deep link not working?” can be difficult to answer.

That’s why we’re making it easier for you to keep your deep links in good shape with a new, dedicated Play Console page. This page collects all the information and tools related to your app’s deep links in one convenient place, giving you a quick but comprehensive snapshot of your current setup to help you identify and troubleshoot issues at a glance.

See a comprehensive snapshot of your deep links so you can easily identify and troubleshoot issues.

On the new deep links page, you’ll find a quick summary of possible issues with your app’s deep links and the steps to take to fix them. The page also lists all web domains your app is configured to accept traffic from, as well as information about the user experience from those domains. In cases where the user experience could be improved, you’ll see step-by-step guidance on how to fix the issue, showing you exactly what’s missing from your app or website association with code snippets to make sure you get it right.

Get step-by-step guidance on how to fix issues with your deep links.

Lastly, the new deep links page offers a full drill-down of your deep links app configuration, listing details of all intent filters and the sources they are configured to receive traffic from. Again, you can see if each line item is properly configured, and if not, get specific instructions about how to fix it.

We’re very excited to share this first release of the deep links page with you, making it much easier to make sense of your setup and fix broken deep links. The next release, coming later this year, will also highlight important website URLs that aren’t yet configured as deep links, so that you don’t miss an opportunity to drive more quality traffic to your app.

Check out the new deep links page today to see the status of your deep links and fix any setup issues.

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What’s new in Google Play

Posted by Alex Musil, Product Management at Google Play

Blue graphic with Google Play logo 

At this year’s Google I/O, we focused on three major ways we can help you continue growing your business on Google Play:

  • Privacy and security initiatives to keep the ecosystem safe for users and developers, like the new Google Play SDK Index
  • Tools to help you improve your app quality across the app lifecycle
  • New ways to help you acquire users and engage with existing ones through features like LiveOps, as well as ways to drive revenue growth with new subscription capabilities

You can check out all the updates in our I/O session, or keep reading for a quick overview of the new features that will help take your business even further.

Privacy and security initiatives to protect developers and users

Over the last few years, we've been working on tools to help make SDKs better and safer for everyone, including SDK providers, app developers, and ultimately, our collective end users.

  • In 2020, we launched Google Play SDK Console, which provides usage statistics, crash reporting, and the ability for SDK providers to communicate to app developers through Play Console and Android Studio. Today, we launched Google Play SDK Index, a new public portal that lists the most widely used commercial SDKs, and provides data and insights about each one.
    The index includes over 100 SDKs with information about which app permissions they use, statistics on the apps that use them, and if the SDK provider is committed to ensuring that their SDK’s code follows Google Play policies. You can use it to inform your decisions about which SDKs and specific versions to use in your app.
Google Play SDK Index shows reliability and safety signals so you can decide if an SDK is right for your business and your users.

Google Play SDK Index shows reliability and safety signals so you can decide if an SDK is right for your business and your users.

  • We’re also protecting the work you put into your apps with Play’s app integrity tools. Play App Signing is used to securely sign millions of apps on Google Play and helps ensure that app updates can be trusted. From now on, Play App Signing will use Google Cloud Key Management to protect signing keys. This means you can review public documentation including the storage specifications and security practices that Google uses to protect your keys. We’ll soon be using Cloud Key Management for all newly generated keys, followed by securely migrating eligible existing keys.
  • Another new feature of Play App Signing rolling out soon is the ability for any app to perform an app signing key rotation. In the event of an incident or just as a security best practice, you’ll be able to trigger an annual key rotation from within Play Console. To maximize security, Google Play Protect will also verify your app updates using rotated keys for older Android releases that don’t support rotation, going all the way back to Android Nougat.
  • We also offer an API that you can use to help protect your app, your IP, and your users from abuse and attacks. The new Play Integrity API is now available to all apps and games to detect fraudulent and risky interactions, such as traffic from modified or pirated app versions and rooted or compromised devices.
  • In addition to protecting users, we also want them to feel safe when downloading apps and games from Google Play. The new Data safety section gives you a way to showcase your approach to privacy and security so that users can confidently download your app. If you haven't yet, please complete your Data safety form by July 20th. Check out our Help Center article for more information.
  • In other data privacy news, we’ve released the first developer preview of the Privacy Sandbox on Android, our initiative to build new technologies that improve user privacy while still enabling effective advertising. Check out our blog post to learn more and join our email newsletter for the latest updates.

More features to help you improve app quality across your app lifecycle

Your app quality affects everything from your ability to engage and retain users to your discoverability and promotability on the Play Store.

  • Android vitals is your definitive source of technical quality metrics on Play. Now, with the new Developer Reporting API, you can access Android vitals metrics and issues data outside of Play Console, including crash and ANR rates, counts, clusters, and stack traces and integrate them into your own tools and workflows.
  • You can also now view Android vitals data at the country level to help you troubleshoot and prioritize by location.
  • And we’ve made it easier to use Android vitals alongside Firebase Crashlytics by aligning issue names and enabling you to see Play Track information in Crashlytics when you link your Play app with your Crashlytics app.

Beyond Android vitals, there are other new features to help you across the development lifecycle:

  • Reach and devices makes it easier to plan for better quality by providing insights on your user and issue distribution. It now includes revenue and revenue growth metrics for apps that monetize on Play, so you can build revenue-based business cases for quality and reach.
  • We also overhauled the Device catalog to make it easier to understand and use. The Overview page now includes install data, and you can filter by new device attributes like shared libraries. You can also see device variants by RAM and Android version, which lets you quickly identify the most common variant.
  • It is now much easier to test your app on different form factors. You can independently run internal and open testing on many form factors including Android Automotive, and soon, Wear OS.
  • To help you keep users up to date, the In-app Updates API will now let your app users know if there’s an update available within 15 minutes instead of up to 24 hours, including showing your “What’s new” text within the update screen.

To learn more about all these launches, check out our session on app quality.


Marketing and monetization features to help you grow your business

Google Play can help grow your business with new ways to acquire new users, engage your existing ones, and drive revenue growth.

  • Your store listing is often the first thing a prospective user sees about your app. To help you make the right first impression, you can now make up to 50 custom store listings, each with analytics and unique deep links, so you can show different listings to users depending on where they come from.
Listing details page

Developers can now create up to 50 custom store listings, each with analytics and unique deep links.

  • We’ve also made some major improvements to Store Listing Experiments. You’ll now see results more quickly for most experiments, with more transparency and contrul to help you anticipate how long each experiment is likely to need.
  • Deep links are an important tool when trying to improve engagement with your in-app content, so we’re making it easier to keep your deep link setup complete and up-to-date. Soon, we’re launching a new Play Console page dedicated to deep links with all the information and tools related to your app’s deep links in one convenient place.
  • Another helpful tool is LiveOps, a feature that allows you to submit content to be considered for featuring on the Play Store. By surfacing limited-time offers, events, and major updates for your app or game, LiveOps drives 5% more 28-day active users and 4% higher revenue for developers using the feature than those that do not. If you’d like to join our beta program, you can learn more and express your interest here.
  • Since last year, we’ve made some big changes to Play Commerce to help you do business with users with regional payment method preferences, such as cash and prepaid. We’ve expanded our payment method library to include over 300 local payment methods in 70 countries, and added eWallet payment methods such as MerPay in Japan, KCP in Korea, and Mercado Pago in Mexico.
  • We also expanded pricing options with ultra-low price points to help you increase conversions and grow your revenue. Now you can price your products as low as the equivalent of 5 US cents in any market. This will allow you to adjust your prices to better reflect local purchasing power, run locally relevant sales and promotions, and support micro-transactions such as tipping.
  • We launched new subscription capabilities along with a reimagined developer experience, making it easier to sell subscriptions on Google Play. For each subscription, you can now configure multiple base plans and offers. This allows you to sell the subscription in multiple ways and reduces operational costs by removing the need to create and manage an ever-increasing number of SKUs.

    Each base plan in a subscription defines a different billing period and renewal type - e.g a monthly auto-renewing plan, an annual auto-renewing plan, and a 1-month prepaid plan. A base plan can have multiple offers supporting different stages of the subscription lifecycle - e.g. an acquisition offer for limited time free trial, or an upgrade offer to incentivize subscribers to move from a prepaid plan to an auto-renewing plan. Offers are a great way to acquire new subscribers, incentivize upgrades, and retain existing subscribers.

Easily configure your subscription base plans and offers without having to create additional SKUs. [previous configuration (left); new configuration (right)]

For each subscription, you can now configure multiple base plans and offers.

  • New prepaid plans allow you to offer users access for a fixed amount of time. Users can easily extend their access period at any time before plan expiration. Users can purchase these top-ups in your app, or right on the Play Store subscription screen. They make a great option for regions where pay-as-you go is standard.
  • In-App Messaging is a new way to prevent you from losing subscribers due to a declined payment. Simply use the In-App Messaging API to check with Play when a user opens the app. If the user’s payment has been declined, a message will remind them to update their payment information.
    Prevent subscriber loss due to declined payments with the In-App Messaging API.

    Prevent subscriber loss due to declined payments with the In-App Messaging API.

    These features are all available with the latest version of Play Billing Library 5.0. To learn more about these and other tools to help grow your business, check out “Power your Success with new acquisition, engagement and monetization tools.”

    Thank you for continuing to be a part of the thriving Google Play ecosystem. We can’t wait to see what you build next.


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Access Android vitals data through the new Play Developer Reporting API

Posted by Lauren Mytton, Product Manager, Google Play

Hand holding a phone 

Quality is foundational to your game or app’s success on Google Play, and Android vitals in Google Play Console is a great way to track how your app is performing. In fact, over 80% of the top one thousand developers check Android vitals at least once a month to monitor and troubleshoot their technical quality, and many visit daily

While the Android vitals overview in Play Console lets you check your app or game’s quality at a glance, many developers have told us that they want to work with their vitals data outside Play Console, too. Some of your use cases include:

  • Build internal dashboards
  • Join with other datasets for deeper analysis, and
  • Automate troubleshooting and releases

Starting today, these use cases are now possible with the new Play Developer Reporting API.

The Play Developer Reporting API allows developers to work with app-level data from their developer accounts outside Play Console. In this initial launch, you get access to the four core Android vitals stability and battery metrics: crash rate, ANR rate, excessive wake-up rate, and stuck background wake-lock rate, along with crash and ANR issues and stack traces. You can also view anomalies, breakdowns (including new country filters in Vitals), and three years of metric history.


Set up access to the new Play Developer Reporting API from 
the API Access page in Play Console.

Set up access to the new Play Developer Reporting API from the API Access page in Play Console.

Getting started with the API

To enable the API, you must be an owner of your developer account in Play Console. Then you can set up access in minutes from the API Access page in Play Console. Our documentation covers everything you need to know to get started.

Using the API

You can find sample requests in the API documentation, along with a list of available endpoints (for both alpha and beta releases).

Best practices

Once you have enabled the API, you may wish to send some requests manually to get a sense of the API resources and operation before implementing more complex solutions. This can also help you establish query times, which will vary depending on the amount of data being processed. Queries over long time ranges, across many dimensions, and/or against very large apps will take longer to execute.

Most of our metric sets are refreshed once a day. To avoid wasting resources and request quota, we recommend you use the provided methods to check for data freshness and verify that new data is available before issuing a query.

Thank you to all the developers who requested this feature. We hope it helps you continue to improve your apps and games. We hope it helps you continue to improve your apps and games. To learn more about Android vitals and the Play Developer Reporting API, view our session from the Google for Games Developer Summit.

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Things to know from the 2022 Google for Games Developer Summit

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Product Director, Games on Play/Android

Google for Games Developer Summit 

Over the years, we’ve seen that apps and games are not just experiences - they’re businesses - led by talented people like yourselves. So it's our goal to continue supporting your businesses to reach even greater potential. At our recent Google for Games Developer Summit, we shared how teams across Google have been continuing to build the next generation of services, tools and features to help you create and monetize high quality experiences, more programs tailored to your needs, and more educational resources with best practices.

We want to help you throughout the game development lifecycle, by making it easier to develop high quality games and deliver these great experiences to growing audiences and devices.


Easier to bring your game to more screens
To enable games on new screens and devices, we want to help you meet players where they are, giving them the convenience of playing games wherever they choose.

  • Gameplay across tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks is on the rise and offers the opportunity to be more engaging and immersive than ever before. In 2021, Android usage on CrOS grew 50% versus the previous year, led by games.
  • Google Play Games for PC Beta rolled out in January to South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. This standalone Windows PC application built by Google, allows users to play a high quality catalog of Google Play games seamlessly across their mobile phone, tablet, Chromebook, or (now) their Windows PC. Learn more and start to optimize your game for more screens today.
  • Play as you download beta program was announced last year and we will soon open it up to all Android 12 users. PAYD allows users to get into gameplay in seconds while game assets are downloaded in the background. and can happen with minimal developer changes to your underlying implementation. Sign up for the beta.

Easier to develop high quality games

We’re committed to supporting you build high quality Android games, by continuing to focus on tools and SDKs that simplify development and provide insights about your game, while also partnering with game engines, including homegrown native c/c++ engines. Last year, we released the Android Game Development Kit (AGDK), a set of tools and libraries to help make Android Game Development more efficient, and have made several updates based on developer feedback.

  • Android Game Development Extension allows game developers to build directly for Android from within Visual Studio. To make debugging easier across Java and C, AGDE will now include cross compatibility between Android Studio and Visual Studio so you can open and edit your AGDE projects in Android Studio’s debugger.
  • The new Memory Advice API (Beta) library added to AGDK helps developers understand their memory consumption by combining the best signals for a given device to determine how close the device is to a low memory kill.
  • We’ve fully launched the Android GPU Inspector Frame Profiler to help you understand when your game is bottlenecked on the GPU vs. CPU, and achieve better frame rates and battery life.

More tools to help you succeed on Google Play

The Play Console is an invaluable resource to help in your game lifecycle, with tools and insights to assist before and after launch.

  • We continue to invest in programs to help developers of all sizes grow their businesses with Google Play. For our largest developers, we launched the Google Play Partner Program for Games, offering additional growth tools and premier services, tailored for the unique needs of developers at this scale.
  • Reach and devices helps you make foundational decisions about what devices to build for, where to launch and what to test, both pre-launch and post-launch. It already shows your install and issue distributions across a range of device attributes. Today, we’re launching Google Play revenue and revenue growth distributions for your game and its peers, so you can build revenue-based business cases for troubleshooting or device targeting, if that suits your business model better than using installs.
  • We recently launched Strategic guidance in Console, which provides an intuitive way to help you evaluate how well your game is monetizing, and see opportunities to grow revenue. You can think of Reach & devices as helping you to understand revenue opportunities from a technical perspective; strategic guidance does the same from a business perspective, so you can use them together to provide a holistic picture of your IAP revenue drivers.
  • Android vitals is your destination to monitor and improve your game’s stability on Google Play. For those of you who have games with global presence, we’ve just launched country breakdowns and filters for Vitals metrics, so it’s easier for you to prioritize and troubleshoot stability issues. In addition, today we’re launching the Developer Reporting API which gives you programmatic access to your core Android vitals metrics and issue data, including crash and ANR rates, clusters, and stack traces.

Learn more about everything we shared at the Google for Games Developer Summit and by visiting g.co/android/games for additional resources and documentation. We remain committed to supporting the developer ecosystem and greatly appreciate your continued feedback and investment in creating high quality game experiences for players around the world.

Freeing up 60% of storage for apps

Posted by Lidia Gaymond and Vicki Amin, Product Managers at Google Play

One of the main reasons users uninstall apps is to free up space. To prevent unnecessary uninstalls and help users get more out of their devices, we started working on a new feature that would enable app archiving.

Archiving is a new functionality that will allow users to reclaim ~60% of app storage temporarily by removing parts of the app rather than uninstalling it completely. An archived app will remain on the device and can easily be restored to the latest available compatible version, whilst preserving the user data.

With the release of the upcoming version of Bundletool 1.10, we are taking the first step toward making archiving available to all developers using App Bundles. For apps built with the Android Gradle Plugin 7.3, we will start generating a new type of APK - archived APKs. Archived APKs are very small APKs that preserve user data until the app is restored. While we will start creating archived APKs now, they won’t be functional until the archiving functionality is launched to consumers later in the year.

Once launched, archiving will deliver great benefits to both users and developers. Instead of uninstalling an app, users would be able to “archive” it - free up space temporarily and be able to re-activate the app quickly and easily. Developers can benefit from fewer uninstalls and substantially lower friction to pick back up with their favourite apps.

As before, all APKs generated will be available to download and inspect through Generated APKs API or in Play Console under App Bundle Explorer. Since the functionality is open source, developers will be able to inspect the code, and other app stores can benefit from it too.

If you want to opt-out of the generation of archived APKs, you can modify the build.gradle file of the project:

android {
    bundle {
        storeArchive {
            enable = false
        }
    }
}

Alternatively, if you are not using Gradle to build your apps, you can opt-out with a new option in the BundleConfig:

{
  "optimizations": {
    "storeArchive": {
      "enabled": false
    }
  }
}

Keep an eye out for more information about app archiving on the Android Developers blog.

Grow your game’s revenue with Google Play Console’s new strategic guidance

Posted by Phalene Gowling, Product Manager, Google Play

light blue illustration with coin bouncing

Last year, mobile game consumer spending grew 7.3% to $93.2 billion with no signs of slowing down. In this competitive, growing market, effectively monetizing your audience has never been more important. But without access to a strategy consultant, how can you know if your monetization strategy is as strong as it can be?

That’s why we’re expanding the suite of tools available in Play Console to help it be exactly that. Last year, we released new engagement and monetization metrics on the Statistics page to help you grow your business, and now we’re pleased to announce new strategic guidance tools to help you drive successful monetization.

In this new section, you’ll see our metric-driven guidance to help you better monetize your game by:

  1. Contextualizing your topline revenue: Understand how your game’s revenue metrics contribute to your overall business goals, and learn when to prioritize optimizing for one metric over another.
  2. Identifying opportunities: Find out where there is an opportunity to improve a metric by benchmarking against peer groups, and explore insights by country.
  3. Recommending next steps: Learn how to take advantage of monetization opportunities with specific actions you can take right away.
screenshot of strategic guidance for monetization webpage in Google Play Console

The strategic guidance metric hierarchy. (Learn more or visit our Play Academy for specific courses like monitoring KPIs.)

We’ve spent the last couple of years perfecting our guidance, and testing the dashboard with selected partners. Feedback on our strategic guidance has been positive — and we hope you’ll find it useful, too.

“This is extremely useful! These type of insights are actually what we expect from Google, because this is something that really can help us to scale our business.”

- Product Manager at Gameloft


Understand key monetization drivers and their relationships with the metric hierarchy

Strategic guidance can be found in Financial reports within Play Console. In partnership with experts in mobile games growth, we’ve included primary monetization metrics (including new metrics) and their relationships to help you easily assess your performance and measure against your peers. You can see all the metrics in this Help Center article.

The metric hierarchy is a tool to help you understand how you and your teams can directly influence the lower-level metrics of your games performance, like buyer conversions, which contribute to your overall top-line business performance. Using peerset comparisons and per-country breakdowns, you can quickly identify your biggest growth opportunities: what markets are underperforming and where you are a market leader.


Explore metric analysis to turn insights into action

Select a metric and explore it in detail to track your performance over time. Strategic guidance shows you a breakdown of your chosen metric by location to help you spot opportunities to expand your game globally. The detailed metric analysis also helps you identify where a small investment has an outsized return.

Strategic guidance metric recommendation example for returning daily buyer ratio.

Strategic guidance metric recommendation example for returning daily buyer ratio.

Whether you’ve created a casual game or an RPG, the metric-specific recommendations are designed to be insightful and relevant to a variety of game developers. They can be used to help you diversify your promotional content, refine your game mechanics, or test new price points that enable purchasing power parity.


Get IAP monetization guidance today, with more insights to come

With an increasing number of developers shifting focus from an ads-only monetization business model to include in-app purchases (IAP), we’ve developed strategic guidance to be most relevant for developers that include IAP-monetization as part of their overall strategy. With this launch, we’re excited to bring growth consulting opportunities to these game developers at scale. Stay tuned for more launches this year to help you successfully drive your revenue growth.

Google Play updates from #AndroidDevSummit

Posted by Alex Musil, Director of Product, Google Play

illustrated graphic of orange hands holding a phone with the Google Play logo. There are other icons in the image like a coin and charts

At this year’s Android Developer Summit, we shared new features we’ve been building to help power your growth on our platform, including enhancements to trust and safety, tools to boost your app quality and improve monetization, some updates for games, and an exciting new app marketing certificate.

Watch the whole session below, or keep reading for the highlights.


Evolving our business model to address developer needs

We've made important changes to ensure all types of businesses can be successful on Google Play. We now have multiple programs designed to support our app ecosystem with 99% of developers qualifying for a service fee of 15% or less.

Recently, we announced that starting January 1, 2022, we’re decreasing the service fee for all subscriptions on Google Play from 30% to 15%. Additionally, we're making changes to the Play Media Experience program, where ebooks and on-demand music streaming services will now be eligible for service fees as low as 10%.

For more information about our service fees, please see our FAQs.


Improvements to trust and safety

Earlier this year, we shared details about the upcoming Data safety section in the Play Store, which will let users know what type of data your app collects and shares and how that data is used. By giving you a way to showcase your approach to privacy and security, we’re not only building trust, we’re helping users make informed decisions about the apps they install and use.

Users will see the new Data safety section in the Play Store starting in February 2022. You have until April 2022 before your apps must have this section completed and approved, but we encourage you to fill out the required Data Safety form in Play Console now. For more information, including guidance on how to fill out the form, watch our “Get prepared for the Data safety section” session.

We regularly update our policies to make Google Play a safe and trustworthy experience. Check out our Policy Center or this PolicyBytes video for new announcements from this week. You can also join our policy webinars and send in your questions, available for multiple regions (Global, India, Japan, or Korea).

Another way that we’re protecting both you and our users is by investing in new developer tools that help you protect your apps and games from abuse and attack, so you can ensure your users have the experience you intend. The new Play Integrity API will let you determine if you’re interacting with your genuine app binary, installed by Google Play, and running on a genuine Android device that’s powered by Google Play services. If not, you can decide how best to introduce additional friction and reduce the risk to your app.

The Play Integrity API will be rolling out to all developers over the next few months. To learn more, watch our “Play Integrity API” session and express interest in early access.


More ways to improve app quality

We've released several updates to help you improve the performance of your app.

First, we’re making it easier for you to be alerted to and fix new issues with improvements to Android vitals. Your most recent data is now more visible to help you see issues right away, and we’ve added trends, filters, and app version information to help you identify the source of the issue quickly.

We also recently launched a new tool in Play Console called Reach and devices to help you understand which features or fixes would help you reach the most users on Google Play. By understanding your user and issue distribution, you can make better decisions about which specs to build for, where to launch, and what to test to make the biggest impact.

We’re making changes to the way users evaluate your app quality, too. One of the most important ways that users assess your app is by checking your ratings and reviews. That’s why starting in November, users on phones will start to see ratings specific to their registered country. Then, in early 2022, users will see ratings specific to the device that they’re on, including form factors such as tablets, Chromebooks, and wearables. You can preview your location-specific and device-specific ratings in Play Console now, and we encourage you to check them out so you have time to make any app quality improvements you need before the new ratings go into effect in the Play Store.


Updates to help you monetize your app

To help you better monetize your apps and games, we continue to invest in modernizing our platform, including updates to the Billing Library. Billing Library version 3, which was announced June 2020, includes new ways for users to pay, subscription promotion capabilities, purchase attribution for games, and improvements to purchase reliability and security. As a reminder, all updates to existing apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer by November 1, 2021. Learn more about updating to Billing Library version 3 or newer — which requires few updates to your code — in the release notes.

We’re also excited to announce a new feature in the Billing Library: in-app messaging. Today, subscription users who go into payment decline often aren’t aware of it, or experience too much friction to fix their payment. That’s why we’ve launched a new API that can detect whether a user is in payment decline and show a helpful message right in your app, so the user can immediately fix the payment without leaving the app to go to the Play Store. Best of all, the integration is super easy — just a single line of code. On average, our early-access partners saw a 99% improvement in subscription recovery and spend for users who saw the message. In-app messaging will be available in the next Billing Library release, so stay tuned for more information.


Seamless gaming experiences

The updated sign-in API for Play Games Services, which drastically simplifies the sign-in implementation, is now in early access. The new SDK makes for a one-line implementation.

We’ve also simplified the setup for users, combining the Google Play Games install and profile creation in one step. This allows users to get back to their game more quickly, even when they don’t have Play Games installed. We’re also streamlining the process of opting in to auto-sign-in for an even smoother experience for returning users.

But that’s not all. Because needing to have the Google Play Games app installed is creating friction for some users, starting in 2022, Play Games Services will no longer require this installation. This change will allow 2 billion users to sign in to your Play Games Services-enabled games with a zero-touch experience. More details are coming soon. You can express your interest in the early access program on our developer site.


Industry-recognized app marketing certificate

Last but not least, we also announced the launch of the Google Play Store Listing Certificate. This new program is designed to help app marketers demonstrate their proficiency and skills in Play Store listing best practices.

To get certified, app marketers can take online training that will help you best tell your app or game’s story on Google Play. You’ll learn key skills that will help you drive growth through high-quality and policy-compliant store listings. After the training, take the exam to get an industry-recognized certificate.

We hope you take advantage of all these new features and programs to grow your businesses on Google Play. Please continue sharing your feedback so we can build the tools you need to power your growth. Thank you for being part of the Google Play community.



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Improved Google Play Console user management: access requests, permission groups, and more

Posted by Mike Yerou, Software Engineer, Google Play

PlayConsole revamped user management header

User management is an important responsibility for businesses of all sizes. The challenge is to make sure that every team member has the right set of permissions to fulfill their responsibilities, but without overexposing unrelated business data.

Over the years, you’ve asked us for better user and permission management tools in Play Console to help you handle growth efficiently and with confidence. And with the redesigned Google Play Console, we did just that. We decluttered the interface to make it easier to find what you want, and added new features to help you manage your teams easier.


Users and Permissions screen

The users and permissions page has been redesigned to make it easier for admins to manage their teams.


Permission names and descriptions were rewritten to make it easier to understand what you are — and aren’t — allowing users to do. You’ll also see clearer differentiation between account and app-level permissions.

New search, filtering, and batch-editing capabilities allowed you to quickly view and act on a subset of users.

And finally, to make auditing easier, we added a CSV export functionality for users of a developer account.


New access requests

While admins generally set permissions for users, you told us it would be helpful to allow users to request permissions as they figure out what’s required for their workflow. Well, now they can. Admins will still need to approve the request, but empowering users to ask for the exact permissions they need is a significant time-saver for admins.

In Play Console, users will now see a “Request access” button next to each action that is supported but not enabled due to missing permissions. To request the permission, users need to include an explanation of their need to the admin. Admins will be notified via their Inbox and can grant the permission for the specific user and app, reject it once, or reject it permanently to prevent users misusing the feature. Currently, this function is only supported for app permissions.


Request access GIF

Team members can now request access for specific permissions.


New permission groups

When companies reach a certain size, it’s not uncommon for more than one person to have the same role, such as project managers or designers. When that happens, admins may find themselves assigning the same set of permissions over and over again.

To save you time, we recently introduced permission groups. Admins can now create a group with a set of permissions, and when a user is added to that group, they will inherit those permissions automatically. You can even choose to have the permissions in that group expire after a certain date. Users can be in multiple groups, and these groups can have overlapping permissions. We hope you’ll be able to use permission groups to improve your own working practices and encourage greater delegation and ease of user management.

We hope these new changes help you improve admin productivity and help your team get the most out of Play Console. To learn more about managing permissions, check out our Help Center.


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Google Play logo

Making Ratings and Reviews better for users and developers

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Scott Lin, and Tat Yang Koh, Product Managers at Google Play


Illustration of person holding phone looking at 4 star rating

Ratings and reviews are important. They provide valuable quantitative and qualitative feedback on your users’ reported experience of your app or game, and the broader service that you offer. That’s why they’re one of the signals people use when deciding what to download on Google Play.

We’ve heard from both Play Store users and developers that ratings and reviews could be more helpful. This is especially true when ratings from one area unfairly impact another — like when a bug that only impacted a single country negatively affects the app’s rating everywhere; or when positive improvements in a tablet experience are overlooked because of the number of users on phones. So we’re starting a multi-quarter program of improvements to make ratings more personalized and indicative of the experience each individual user can expect, and to make them easier to navigate and use for developers:

  • From November 2021, users on phones will start to see ratings specific to their registered country
  • Early in 2022 users on other form-factors such as tablets, Chromebooks, and wearables will start to see ratings specific to the device that they’re on

We understand that many developers closely monitor the ratings that their potential users see, so we’re making sure you have plenty of notice about these upcoming changes. We’ve also made enhancements to Play Console to help you understand your ratings and reviews - especially across form-factors.

Changes to Google Play Console

Device type insights

Expanding your support for different device types is one of the most important and impactful changes you can make to your user interfaces. Adding tablet-optimized layouts or better mouse and keyboard support for Chrome OS can result in a step-change in the quality of your users’ experience, which in turn influences their ratings and reviews.

New Device type ratings insights are available in Play Console 
ratings overview and breakdown pages

New Device type ratings insights are available in Play Console ratings overview and breakdown pages

To make it easier to spot opportunities across various device types and track the impact of enhanced experiences, we’ve added new Device Type dimensions to the ratings page. We’ve also added a Device Type filter to your reviews so you can easily see how your tablet users are rating you, or what your users on Chrome OS say in their reviews.

More flexible date and period selections

Many of you have told us that you want to access more granular data than our selectors allowed. So, we’ve broken down your segmentation options and made them easier to use. You can now independently select the time period you want to plot (from the last 28 days through to your app’s complete lifetime), and how you want your ratings data to be aggregated (daily, weekly, or every 28 days). This allows you to access more granular data over longer periods of time.

Select any time range and aggregation period independently 
to find the ratings data you want

Select any time range and aggregation period independently to find the ratings data you want

Download data easily

We’ve also enabled CSV downloads of your average data and rating distributions. Combined with the new data selection options, you can easily query and download much more of your data and perform offline analysis. For example, you could download your entire history of daily ratings distributions and correlate it in a spreadsheet with customer service contacts.

Access and download all your data including ratings breakdowns 
directly from the overview page

Access and download all your data including ratings breakdowns directly from the overview page

All of these changes are live in Play Console now. Visit Ratings analysis and Reviews to try them out.*

Upcoming changes to ratings in Google Play

Ratings help people decide which apps to download and they are taken into consideration for featuring and placement on Play Store. But because the app experience can vary depending on the user’s region and device type, aggregate ratings don’t always tell the whole story. That’s why, starting in November 2021, we’re going to change the ratings that individual users see based on where they’re registered, and later in the year what device they’re using.

From November, this means that users on phones will see specific ratings for the country or region they’re based in. So a user in Japan will see app ratings generated from those submitted by other Japanese users.

Early next year we’ll further update ratings to reflect the device type users are browsing Play on, whether it’s: tablets and foldables, Chrome OS, Wear, or Auto. This will give users a better impression of the experience that they can expect for the device they’re using. We recommend you take a look at your form-factor ratings today - especially for tablets where growth is very strong - to see if you should invest in optimising your users’ experiences.

We understand that as a developer you will want to make sure you understand and get ahead of any major shifts in your user-visible ratings. So at least 10 weeks before any change in Play Store, we’ll automatically analyze the change your app can expect to see and reach out to any developer that will see a change of more that 0.2 stars on any device type in a key market (one with >5% of your store listing visitors). This will give you time to plan if you want to make key changes to your app.

These changes in Google Play will start to roll out from November with country or region-specific ratings. Look out for messages about your ratings in your Play Console Inbox towards the end of this year, and don’t forget that you can get ahead by checking your ratings by country and device-type today.

*Please note you need a Play Console account to access these links.

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Working Towards Android App Excellence

Posted by Jacob Lehrbaum Director of Developer Relations, Android

illustration of freckled hand over mobile phone with graphs

Great app experiences are great for business. In fact, nearly three-quarters of Android app users who leave a 5 star review on Google Play mention the quality of their experience with the app1; its speed, design, and usability. At Google, we want to help all developers achieve app excellence, and in turn help you drive user acquisition, retention, and monetization.

So what is “app excellence”? This may sound aspirational, but it is within reach for many apps. It starts with a laser focus on the user, and more specifically, with intuitive user experiences that get people to the main functionality of your app as quickly as possible — but that is just the beginning. Excellent apps are consistent across all of their screens and experiences. They perform well, no matter the device used. App excellence is achievable when all of the stakeholders who influence your app are invested in the experience of using your app.

One of the blockers that gets in the way of app excellence is shared or unclear accountability. Some of the primary measures of app quality, such as crashes and load times, are often seen as the responsibility of one group in the company, such as the engineering team. However, when we talk to best-in-class organizations2 about how they achieve app quality, it is clear that taking a cross-functional approach is key, with engineering, design, product, and business teams working toward a common goal.

So what are some internal best practices behind app excellence?

Make app quality a cross-organizational focus — not just an engineering concern

It’s a way easier conversation for me at the business end because I can say “these competitors’ apps are faster than ours; we need to reduce our load time down from 5 seconds to 4 seconds”.
Software engineer, x-platform app

App excellence helps drive business performance. New features are great, but if they slow down app start-up times or take up too much device space, people will eventually use your app less often or even delete it. Engineers who have built a company-wide focus on quality have often done so by quantifying the impact of quality issues on business performance, through:

  • Case studies showing the impact of responsiveness, APK size, start-up time, and memory usage on business KPIs. Here you can find practical case studies showcasing how developers such as Headspace and Duolingo achieved app excellence.
  • Benchmarking against competitor apps. Check out peer benchmarks and other metrics on the Google Play Console.

Organize teams around features and/or app user journey stages

Companies that organize teams around features — or stages in the user journey — are more likely to deliver consistent experiences across each operating system they support, bring new apps or features to market faster, and deliver a better app experience for all their customers. These teams are often cross-functional groups that span engineering, marketing, ux, and product — and are responsible for the success of a feature or user journey stage3 across all devices and platforms. In addition to better experiences and feature parity, this structure enables alignment of goals across functional areas while reducing silos, and it also helps teams hyper-focus on addressing specific objectives.

Feature organized team graph

Squads focused on business objectives heighten focus on the user.

Use the same devices your customers use

If a majority of your users are on a specific type of device, you can build empathy for their experience if you use the same phone, tablet or smart watch as your primary device. This is especially relevant for senior leadership in your organization who make decisions that impact the day-to-day experience of millions of users. For example, Duolingo has built this into their company DNA. Every Duolingo employee — including their CEO — either uses exclusively or has access to an entry level Android device to reflect a significant portion of their user base.

A user-centric approach to quality and app excellence is essential to business growth. If you are interested in learning how to achieve app excellence, read our case studies with practical tips, and sign up to attend our App Excellence Summit by visiting the Android app excellence webpage.

In subsequent blog posts, we will dig deep into two drivers of excellent app experiences: app performance and how it is linked to user behavior, and creating seamless user experiences across devices. Sign up to the Android developer newsletter here to be notified of the next installment, and get news and insights from the Android team.

Notes


  1. Internal Google Play data, 2021. 

  2. Google App Quality Research, 2021 

  3. The series of steps each user takes as they interact with your app is referred to as the “user journey.” Examples of user journey stages include installs, onboarding, engagement, and retention