Google has revealed a number of new features for the Google Play Store and its developer-friendly Play Console that should help Android app developers to better track, market, and monetize their apps. These new features are announced amid Google’s annual Playtime series, which is comprised of live and online events where developers can speak out about successful strategies and other aspects of the business that could help other developers. This large-scale developer advocacy effort is designed not only to help developers get the most out of their apps and games, but to help users get the most out of the Play Store, with new features set to affect both parties’ use experiences.
On the user end, the Play Store will soon feature a new nested tab interface that has more room for more types of content to be highlighted. Among those, the Editor’s Choice section is being reworked, and will now be featured individually within each category of app and game, giving developers more opportunities to have Googlers’ love of their work translate into publicity and installs. There is also a new interface for the Games screen coming out, which highlights featured games with screenshots and trailers right in the category page. Finally, users who tend to find and install new apps but never get around to actually playing them will be met with reminders to try out their newest downloads.
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Developers will find that the new features for the Google Play Console make it easier to develop, troubleshoot, and market quality apps, and Google’s algorithms are set to reward them for it. The first big change is that the algorithms that promote apps and games in the listings will now respond to new metrics that indicate app quality and stability, such as battery power consumption, device compatibility, and app crash reports. Those same metrics will become available in the Play Console, making troubleshooting a narrower process and fostering a higher overall quality of apps in the Play Store. Hand in hand with this change, Google is set to disallow apps with low stability across devices from entering or staying on the Play Store. Developers can find out if an app is any good in those regards before releasing it, thanks to free automated testing on real devices, powered by Firebase Test Lab. There are also new features related to billing through Google Play for subscriptions inside an app, and the ability to launch limited alpha and beta tests on a country by country basis. Finally, Google is rolling out a reward program for those who research apps in the Play Store and find security risks and vulnerabilities, known as the Google Play Security Reward Program.