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AH Primetime: Google’s Relationship Must Improve With Developers

April 8, 2015 - Written By Ed Modlin

One would think that, with having over a billion customers across most of the world, that Google would have a great reputation with developers..not quite. Regular consumers have great respect for Google. However, ask the developer and you have problems. If you get right down to it, here seems to be the issue, Advertising revenue happens to be at the heart of the search giant, that money drives the development, and that is what’s at stake here. Everyday, when applications are downloaded from Google Play the customers use them for their mobile phones, not as an extension on the Chrome browser. So if a developer decides to not have their application optimized for Chrome, then the opportunity for all the advertising, and the data gathering that Google utilizes on smartphones to great effect is squandered. Google needs to integrate with applications on multiple platforms if they want all that data for targeted advertising.  Just about any person on earth can use Google Analytics, providing enough data to Google to satisfy its needs, but many developers have been forced into using third-party applications like Flurry to ensure game performance and player behavior on a daily basis.

Recently, at GDC 2015 Google announced a lot of analysis and monetization applications with the mobile developers in mind. The new applications were supposed to be designed to help the developer make sense of data received from analytics, and to improve the experience for the player who has their products. Now that’s a decent step for Google to take, considering that Android and Chrome were created by the geniuses at the Mountain View campus. However, David Lane, CEO of Fat Fish Games in the United Kingdom, has the opinion that it’s not going to provide as much information as game or application developers want or need to improve their products. Independent developers that have any product on Google Play, especially those that are paid applications, don’t feel like they get the full story with Google for problems that could occur with in-app purchases. For example, if Google Wallet screws up while handling in-app purchases, or if someone has an issue involving game performance, Google doesn’t have a way to immediately notify the developer involved.

The company has a tendency to be too automated. It would be an improvement if developers were able to talk with a person about game and application issues and make sense of all the data over a phone line with a human. Google shouldn’t bog down the process of correcting problems with forms electronically filed about these issues with the money of developers at stake. As the popularity of mobile applications and games predicted to continue, the rewards for getting its mobile analytical tools right and listening to its developers would be a good start, not to mention, vital to improving the relationship between the developer and Google. The issue that could become more important than analysis and monetization would be compatible SDK tools. Even though vast improvements have been made recently, Google’s own SDK Studio tool used for developing games and one of the most popular game engines, Unity, don’t play well together. The SDK that recently went through beta testing does seem to fix that, along with several other issues. Every developer needs for Google and its development tools to work properly and with ease. Fixing this will be the missing link for better relationships with developers and could be a treasure trove to Google.