According to Mishaal Rahman, Google is working on a new feature for Play Store developers to tell them if a real user is running their app or a bot. The feature is still in the works, and its release date is unknown.
The Google Play Store is the main venue for Android users to download their apps with comfort and safety. Back in November, Google announced a big update for Play Store developers including an update to the Play console. The search giant now wants to tell developers if their app is used by real users or bots.
The feature was discovered by developer @linuxct in the Play Integrity API under an undocumented field called AccountActivity. As per the current information, the API can categorize users based on their activity across the Play Store app. Users can fall into one of these categories: ACTIVITY_LEVEL_UNSPECIFIED, UNEVALUATED, UNUSUAL, UNKNOWN, TYPICAL_BASIC, and TYPICAL_STRONG.
Developers on the Google Play Store will soon tell real users apart from bots
The Play Integrity API came as a replacement for Play’s SafetyNet to protect developers’ apps and games from fraudulent traffic. The new feature works in alignment with the Integrity API to identify risky and harmful traffic. App and game developers will also find it easier to identify real users from bots and farm bots. The real danger of bots for developers is the bots can create fake traffic and slow down the app for real users.
Rahman says that the feature can tell developers if their app traffic comes from a “likely genuine” or a “likely non-genuine” source. A non-genuine source means that a bot is currently using the app. Additionally, identifying traffic will be based on “the presence and volume of Play Store activity.”
Google still needs to release the AccountActivity field to the official developer documents for the Play Integrity API, meaning developers can’t access it yet. However, if you’re an Android developer, you can expect to get your hands on the feature in the coming weeks or months.