A big part of Google's push for Android's popularity has always been developer advocacy in one form or another, from special promotion through the Play Store to incentives for top app developers. When they extended their developer advocacy platform with tools catering to multi-person commercial operations, or dev houses, the new initiative, called the Agency Program, drew a fairly large crowd. Hundreds of development agencies from around the world have applied and began receiving tools, training and the like from Google. Firms in places like Russia, Indonesia and the United States have hopped on board in droves, inspiring Google to add a new feature to the program - certifications. Development agencies that go through Google's special training and continuously demonstrate masterful feats of app building will receive a special certification, complete with an official seal.
Dev houses enrolled in the Agency Program already receive a large number of perks, such as early access to new and unreleased developer tools, extensive training and prioritized support, but it's a somewhat safe assumption that there is some benefit associated with obtaining an Agency Certification through Google, though their official announcement did not go into detail, beyond the obvious benefits of certified agencies being seen as more skilled and professional in the eyes of potential clients and users. The release stated that Google is hoping to inspire the entire development scene to improve by offering these certifications as a motive for development agencies to fall in line with the Agency Program and work toward obtaining the kind of recognition that comes with being officially endorsed by Google.
For the moment, the list of certified agencies is a bit on the sparse side, including a total of 13 lesser-known names like cleverpumpkin and Red Mad Robot. The program is only available in a few countries for the time being, but Google expressed a desire to expand the program's horizons and to review applications on a regular basis and continually add names to the list of certified agencies. Agency representatives wishing to apply their development agency for certification can do so through a dedicated page, where they are also given the opportunity to join in the Agency Program, if they have not already done so. Whether you're an up and coming dev house looking for a helping hand and some recognition, or a long-standing outfit who could use a bit more official PR, head through the source link to check out the announcement and apply for an Agency Certification.