Google Play Console, the app management system for developers that helps them keep track of and administer their apps in Google Play, is getting an update that shows a wealth of new information, mostly centered on the user experience. Developers will now see a range of user experience information that’s been aggregated across their user base, such as how often their app stalls out or causes a device to slow down, drains battery life, or crashes. Developers can filter by a number of device statistics to see how well their app is performing on certain crops of devices or single out problems with certain hardware. The console also now allows developers to control the rollout of an update or app release, including stopping it, and allows them to have Google handle generating and storing the signing keys required to get an app onto Google Play. A new dashboard is also on board to help manage subscriptions, but details on that were sparse.
The new updates to the console bring a whole new degree of control for developers, and features that are bound to benefit users by helping developers find trouble spots in their apps. Among the enhanced filtering options, developers can filter through different amounts of RAM and chipsets, which allows for scenarios like singling out certain devices that have problems with the app, or ignoring low-end devices in an app targeted to higher-end phones and tablets. Just about any negative situation that a user could experience with the app, even down to excessive wakelocks, is now presented for the developer to diagnose and fix.
One interesting side effect of the update springs from developers getting the option to hand Google the responsibility for generating and storing key files for apps. This gives Google full access to the app, allowing them to implement fixes to it themselves, theoretically. While Google has much more to worry about than user experience with a single app most of the time, this feature may benefit developers who either have very popular apps that catch Google’s attention when there are issues, or who want to work with Google on getting to the bottom of an issue with their app.