Sep 09

Helping indie developers get discovered on Google Play

Posted by Adriana Puchianu, Google Play Developer Marketing

There are increasing growth opportunities for indie game developers, but being
one can still feel daunting in today’s crowded gaming industry. We’ve been
working hard to help indie developers find an audience and to recognize them for
their creativity and innovation. We launched the Indie
Corner as a destination for exciting new games along with longstanding indie
masterpieces. Since launch, more than 380 games have been featured. Earlier this
year, we launched Android
Excellence which showcases apps and games that deliver incredible user
experiences on Android, while providing another opportunity to be discovered on
Google Play.

We’ve also held several indie games contests across the globe, giving indies the
chance to showcase their games and find new audiences. In April, we selected the
winner of the second Indie Games Festival in South Korea and we recently
announced the top 20 finalists of this year’s San Francisco event. Come and see the finalists in person on
September 23rd, it’s free to attend and open to the public. Soon we’ll be
bringing back the second Indie Games Contest in Europe too.

Watch François Alliot, the developer of Reigns,
an indie game showcased in Android
Excellence and the winner of last year’s Indie Games
Contest in Europe, share how he built a successful games business in the
video below.



And, finally, check out our recent Q&A
with Spry Fox, makers of the popular game Alphabear, to learn more about what it’s like to be an indie game developer.


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Android Developers Blog

Sep 03

Game developers, get ready for our Developer Day at GDC 2016

Posted by Morgan Dollard, Product Manager of Google Play Games

Next week, we’ll be in San Francisco to host our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Join us to get a first look at our latest efforts to help developers of all sizes build successful mobile games businesses with powerful tools to develop high quality apps, grow a valuable user base, and earn more revenue.

Our Developer Day will take place in room 2020 of the West Hall of Moscone Center on Monday, March 14. Based on your feedback from last year, we’re going to keep presentations short and informative with lightning talks around virtual reality, the cloud, ads, and so much more, while dedicating more time to interactive discussions with Google engineers and your peers in the industry.

Here’s a glimpse of the agenda on Monday, March 14:

Opening keynote || 10AM: Be the first to see what’s new and hear about the investments Google is making to help mobile developers grow their game business.

Best practices for success on Google Play || 10:30AM: In this talk, you’ll learn how successful mobile game developers acquire users and bring them back to keep them playing longer.

Lightning talks || 11:15AM: A series of 5-minute talks on innovative technologies to tantalize players, like Project Tango, software to speed and simplify game development, and new ways to predict and prevent user churn.

Interactive roundtables || 2:00PM: After lunch, we’ll break up into interactive roundtables to interact with Google experts and peers on how to build better and more successful games. Ask questions, tell Google product teams what you need, and learn from fellow game developers.

Visit the agenda page to get a full list of our talks and speaker details. Please note that these events are part of the official Game Developer’s Conference, so you will need a pass to attend.

For everyone who can’t make it in person, we’ll be live streaming our event on YouTube. Tune in from 10am on Monday, March 18.


Android Developers Blog

Aug 25

Find success on Google Play: What app developers can learn from games

Posted by Matteo Vallone, Business Development Manager at Google Play

(As a way to reach more app developers and help them grow successful businesses on Google Play, this post was first published on The Next Web – Ed.)

There is much common ground between freemium apps and games businesses when it comes to achieving success. Users are, however, more used to paying for games than apps, stemming from the history of traditional gaming consoles. Moreover, mobile games are also able to easily offer ‘virtual goods’ across a range of price points to suit every pocket. This means that game developers have had plenty of opportunity to learn about how to improve onboarding, conversion, and ultimately the user Lifetime Value (LTV). So what can app developers learn from game developers? Here are some best practice tips and insights from successful game developers that can be applied to many apps, today.

Drive app success the game developer way:

1. Optimize retention before investing in acquisition

Retention is king, and retention drives conversion. For games developers, retention is the key measure of game quality and whether it appeals to players.

Most game developers will “soft launch” to beta testing communities or test markets. During this phase, the game is tweaked to optimize retention by looking into specific areas, such as tutorial completion, level difficulty and conversion. Developers can then track retention using the Cohorts reports in Google Analytics. Once retention is satisfactory, the developer can go to full launch and start investing in user acquisition.

2. Retain users with step-by-step engagement

The first seven days after install are the most critical for retention: users install several apps to try them, and decide in the first few days which ones they want to keep using. If you can retain for that time span, your app is more likely to become part of the user’s daily routine.

There are some simple ways to progressively build user engagement. It’s important to present a strong story that explains why that app is relevant to the user, while introducing them to key features. Then place features that offer the user value early, so they can be found without much effort.

This is a not a one-size-fit-all. To find the right solution, a developer needs to first make assumptions on what user flows can improve retention and then run A/B tests to validate or correct them. For example, a developer could think that introducing sign-in later in the user flow might improve retention. Also, the developer needs to keep in mind what the key long term engagement metrics are for the individual app (such as photos uploaded or the number of articles read) and measure the impact of the different onboarding flows on those metrics as well.

In general, these principles are good places to start optimizing your onboarding:

  • Look for ways to let the users experience the app straight away, rather than taking them through a long, complex setup.
  • Present “activation moments” — such as registering an account, uploading a video, or finding friend — gradually
  • Start by requiring minimal investment by the user, then ask them for more details as they are needed to use the apps features.
  • Treat permissions as a service for the user. For example, if you want users to register, show them in advance that, by making their experience more personal, they’ll get more value from the app.

In this example, OkCupid tried different onboarding flows and found the most engaging version increased seven-day retention by over 20 percent.

Finally, ensure the user can understand the value of your app before you start asking them to pay. Game developers are particularly good at letting their users try most or all product features for free in in a set number of days or sessions.

A great tool to help analyze how users are engaging (or not) with the app is through the Flow Report in Google Analytics. Using this report, a developer can see how users navigate through the app and where they leave to identify potential roadblocks.

3. Target the right offers at the right users

Understanding different groups of users in-app purchase behavior is the key to devising strategies to encourage them to spend.

Start by identifying groups of users by how they spend and much they are likely to spend. It may be by age group, the channel that brought the install, or in-app behaviour. Use the Segment builder in Google Analytics to identify and define these groups of users. Then, tailor in-app purchase offers to match the segments spending behavior. For example, for segments where multiple users tend to spend more in one go, but spend infrequently, offer them in-app features bundled together.

4. Offer in-app purchases when users are most likely to spend

Users are also more likely to spend, if the purchasing experience is frictionless, and even more so when they can see how the expenditure will add value. So:

  • Present purchase opportunities to users when they’re most likely to need or want it — and explain to the user why it’s relevant.
  • Make purchasing accessible easily from within the app with a minimum number of taps. For example, offer an upgrade button on the footer of relevant screens.

TomTom added a countdown to indicate when the free service runs out (counted in kilometers travelled). The counter includes a button to upgrade offering a one tap in-app purchase.

Like all good game developers, they focus on building good experiences that retain and engage users through constant testing and analytics. First impressions are important, so users need to be able to quickly understand the importance of the app and easily navigate through the onboarding experience. And to start generating revenue, it is important to be thoughtful about how to make in-app purchases actionable.

Watch Matteo’s Playtime 2015 session ‘The rules of games, for apps’ to hear more in-depth insights which app developers can learn from games with best practices and developer examples:

You can also watch the other sessions from Google Playtime 2015 to learn more about tools and best practices which can help you find success with business on Google Play.


Android Developers Blog

Aug 02

Join us at Game Developers Conference 2014!

By Greg Hartrell, Google Play Games team

When we’re not guiding a tiny bird across a landscape of pipes on our phones, we’re getting ready for our biggest-ever Developer Day at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

On Tuesday 18 March, all the teams at Google dedicated to gaming will share their insights on the best ways to build games, grow audiences, engage players and make money.

Some of the session highlights include:

  • Growth Hacking with Play Games
  • Making Money on Google Play: Best Practices in Monetization
  • Grow Your Game Revenue with AdMob
  • From Players to Customers: Tracking Revenue with Google Analytics
  • Build Games that Scale in the Cloud
  • From Box2D to Liquid Fun: Just Add Water-like Particles!

And there’s a lot more, so check out the full Google Developer Day schedule on the GDC website, where you can also buy tickets. We hope to see you there, but if you can’t make the trip, don’t worry; all the talks will be livestreamed on YouTube, starting at 10:00AM PDT (5:00PM UTC).

Then from 19-21 March, meet the Google teams in person from AdMob, Analytics, and Cloud at the Google Education Center in the Moscone Center’s South Hall (booth 218), and you could win a Nexus 7.

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Android Developers Blog

Jul 12

Calling all indie developers in the US & Canada: sign up for the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco

Posted by Jamil Moledina, Games Strategic Lead, Google Play

Calling all indie developers with fun and creative mobile games: we want to see
your latest work! We’ll be back with the second Google Play Indie Games Festival
taking place in San Francisco on September 23rd.

If you’re an indie developer based in the US or Canada and want to submit your
game, visit the submission form and enter
now through August 6th at 11:59PM PST.

If chosen as one of the 20 Finalists, you could have a chance to demo your game
at the event and compete for prizes and bragging rights, to go home as one of
the three festival winners!


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Android Developers Blog

Jun 02

Chinese Developers Can Now Offer Paid Applications to Google Play Users in More Than 130 countries

By Ellie Powers, product manager for Google Play

Google Play is the largest digital store for Android users to discover and purchase their favorite mobile app and games, and the ecosystem is continuing to grow globally. Over the past year, we’ve expanded the list of countries where app developers can sign up to be merchants on Google Play, totaling 60 countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Qatar and Venezuela most recently.

As part of that continued effort, we’re excited to announce merchant support in China, enabling local developers to export and sell their apps to Google Play users in more than 130 countries. Chinese developers can now offer both free and paid applications through various monetization models, including in-app purchasing and subscriptions. For revenue generated on Google Play, developers will receive payment to their Chinese bank accounts via USD wire transfers.

If you develop Android apps in China and want to start distributing your apps to a global audience through Google Play, visit play.google.com/apps/publish and register as a developer. If you want to sell apps and in-app products, you’ll need to also sign up for a Google Wallet merchant account, which is available on the “Revenue” page in the Google Play Developer Console. After you’ve uploaded your apps, you can set prices in the Developer Console and later receive reports on your revenue. You’ll receive your developer payouts via wire transfer. For more details, please visit our developer help center.

We look forward to continuing to roll out Google Play support to developers in many more countries around the world.

中国开发者可以向全球130个国家的Google Play用户提供付费应用啦

发表者:Ellie Powers, Google Play产品经理

Google Play是一个可让Android用户发现和购买他们喜爱的移动应用程序和游戏的全球最大的应用商店,这个生态系统在全球迅速成长。过去一年中,我们已经扩展到60个国家,让应用程序开发人员可以注册成为 Google Play的商家,其中新近支持的国家包括黎巴嫩、约旦、阿曼、巴基斯坦、波多黎各、卡塔尔和委内瑞拉。

作为持续改进 Google Play努力的一部分,我们很高兴地宣布在中国增加了对商家的支持,让中国的开发者能售卖应用程序到130个国家的 Google Play 用户。中国的开发者现在可以提供通过各种盈利模式的免费和付费应用,包括应用内购买和订阅。在 Google Play 产生的营收将通过美元电汇的方式支付给开发者的中国的银行账户。

如果你在中国开发Android应用程序,并希望通过 Google Play 把应用程序推广到全球,请登录play.google.com/apps/publish 并建立你的 Google Play 开发者账户。如果你想售卖付费的应用程序和应用程序内的产品,则需要再注册一个Google 电子钱包商家帐户,通过Google Play开发者控制台里的”营收”页面进行设置。上传应用程序后,你可以通过开发者控制台设定价格,之后就可以收到营收报告,你将会通过电汇的方式获得收入。

我们将继续增加更多 Google Play 商家支持的国家,敬请关注。

更多详情,请访问我们的开发者帮助中心。

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Android Developers Blog

May 27

Meet 5 Android developers working to improve lives around the world

Posted by Maxim Mai, Apps Partnerships, Google Play

Last Thursday at Google I/O 2017, we announced the winners of this year’s Google Play Awards.
Grab some popcorn and watch the award ceremony, we think
it’s just as fun as The Oscars. This year, we included a category to celebrate
the achievements of developers who publish outstanding apps that have positive
social impact.

In introducing this awards category, we were inspired by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development
Goals. With the ability to reach over 1 billion active Android devices
around the world, we think that app developers have a tremendous opportunity to
impact Zero Hunger (SDG
#2), Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG #3) and Quality
Education (SDG #4), and
many others. Read on to find out more about how this year’s winner and finalists
and impacting these goals.

Get in touch about your social impact app or game

Our work in supporting developer success in this area on Android and Google Play
is just beginning. We would like to encourage Android developers with a focus on
social impact to get
in touch with us here at Google Play and to tell us about their app or game.
It doesn’t matter where you are based, what problems you are solving, or which
countries you are targeting, we would like to hear your story and maybe we can
help you grow faster and improve your app’s quality.

Social impact winner & finalists in the 2017 Google Play
Awards

May 24

Utilities for C/C++ Android Developers: fplutil 1.0

By Stewart Miles, Fun Propulsion Labs at Google*

Today we’re announcing the 1.0 release of fplutil, a set of small libraries and tools by Fun Propulsion Labs at Google (the FPL in fplutil) that is useful when developing C/C++ applications for Android.

fplutil introduces the following:

  • build_all_android.py, an all-in-one build script that allows you to build (with the Android NDK), install and run native (C/C++) Android apps from the command line. This is ideal for build automation, but is also useful in a developer’s compile/run loop.
  • buildutil performs the configuration, build and archive steps of Android and Linux C/C++ applications using a suite of Python modules. This suite of modules can automate builds in a continuous integration environment. This framework uses legacy tools in the Android Development Toolkit.
  • libfplutil enables C/C++ developers to write traditional applications (like Hello World) using “main()” and “printf()” on Android.
  • android_ndk_perf.py is a desktop tool that enables native (C/C++) developers to measure the CPU utilization of their applications on Android, guiding their optimization efforts. An example report is shown below:

android_ndk_perf.py example HTML report

You can download the latest open source release from our github page. We invite you to contribute to the project and join our discussion list!

*Fun Propulsion Labs is a team within Google that’s dedicated to advancing gaming on Android and other platforms.

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Android Developers Blog

May 19

Android Instant Apps is open to all developers. Start building today!

Posted by: Jonathan Karmel, Product Manager

Earlier
this year, we began testing Android
Instant Apps, a new way to run Android apps without requiring installation.
Thanks to our incredible developer community, we received a ton of feedback that
has helped us refine the end-to-end product experience.

Today, we’re opening Android Instant Apps to all developers, so anyone can build
and publish an instant app. There are also more than 50 new experiences
available for users to try from a variety of developers, such as HotPads, Jet,
the New York Times, Vimeo, and One Football. While these experiences have only
been live for a short amount of time, the early data shows positive results. For
example, Jet and HotPads are seeing double digit increases in purchases and
leads generated.

(left to right: One Football, Dotloop, Jet, Vimeo, HotPads and The New York Times)

Feedback from our early partners has directly shaped the development tools we’re
making available to all of you today.

To get started building an instant app, head over to developer.android.com and
download the latest preview of Android
Studio 3.0 and the Android Instant Apps SDK. You’ll continue to use a single
codebase. Android Studio provides the tools you need to modularize your app so
that features can be downloaded as needed. Every app is different, but we’ve
seen with our early partners that with the latest tools, instant app development
typically takes about 4-6 weeks.

Once you’ve built your app, the Play Console provides support for distributing
your instant app. You just upload your instant app APKs together with your
installable APK.

Instant Apps continues to ramp up on the latest Android devices in more than 40
countries. And with Android O, we’ve gone further, building a new, more
efficient runtime sandbox for instant apps, sharable support libraries to reduce
app size, and launcher integration support.

To learn more, visit g.co/InstantApps. We’re also hosting a session “Introduction
to Android Instant Apps” on Thursday, May 18 from 1:30-2:30 PM PT at the
conference to dig deeper into the topic. You’ll also be able to watch the live
stream on Google I/O YouTube
channel.

We are excited to see what experiences you create with Instant Apps!


Android Developers Blog

May 18

Google I/O 2017: Empowering developers to build the best experiences across platforms

By Jason Titus, Vice President, Developer Product Group

It’s great to be in our backyard again for Google I/O to connect with developers
around the world. The 7,200 attendees at Shoreline Amphitheatre, millions of
viewers on the livestream, and
thousand of developers at local I/O Extended events across 80+
countries heard about our efforts to make the lives of developers easier –
allowing them to focus on the problems they’re trying to solve by minimizing the
pain points of building a product.

Earlier this morning, our CEO Sundar Pichai talked
about our various billion-user platforms. Whether it’s Android or Chrome or the
mobile Web, our success would not have been possible without the developer
community. And during our Developer
Keynote, we covered our heavy investments in tools and services for
developers who build on our platforms every day.

We have a lot to cover over the next three days. Let’s take a closer look at the
major developer news at I/O so far:

Platforms that connect developers to billions of users around the
world

  • Android
    O Developer Preview 2 — Get a look at the next release of Android O focused
    on fluid experiences that make Android even more useful, and our efforts to
    optimize battery life, startup time, graphic rendering time, and stability.
    Early adopters can opt in to the Android O Beta Program at android.com/beta and run Android O now.
  • Project
    Treble — Last week, we also introduced a new Android framework designed to
    help reduce the time and effort it takes device makers to upgrade a phone to a
    new version of Android, starting with Android O.
  • Android
    Go — We’re optimizing Android to run smoothly on entry-level devices,
    starting with the O release. We’re also designing Google apps to use less
    memory, storage space, and mobile data, including apps such as YouTube Go,
    Chrome, and Gboard.
  • Kotlin
    — Android is officially supporting the Kotlin programming language, in addition
    to the Java language and C++. Kotlin is a brilliantly designed, mature,
    production-ready language that we believe will make Android development faster
    and more fun.
  • Android
    Studio 3.0 Canary — Our new preview includes three major features to
    accelerate development flow: a new suite of app performance profiling tools to
    quickly diagnose performance issues, support for the Kotlin programming
    language, and increased Gradle build speeds for large sized app projects.
  • Mobile Web — AMP and Progressive Web
    Apps (PWAs) are re-defining
    modern mobile web development. AMP gets content in front of users fast and PWAs
    deliver app-focused experiences that are reliable, fast and engaging. We’re
    seeing success stories
    from all around the world – travel company Wego has rolled out a
    successful AMP based PWA and Forbes has seen user
    engagement double since launching a PWA. If you’re wondering how good your
    current web experience is, you can use Lighthouse – an
    automated tool for measuring web-page quality. Be sure to tune in this afternoon
    for the
    Mobile Web: State of the Union talk to hear more about building rich mobile
    web experiences.

Infrastructure and services to take mobile apps and the Web to the
next level

  • Firebase
    — At last year’s I/O, we expanded Firebase to a full mobile development platform
    with products to help you build your app and grow your business. Over a million
    developers now use Firebase, and we’re doubling down on our efforts to simplify
    more every-day developer challenges. We’re giving more insights to understand
    app performance through Firebase Performance Monitoring, introducing integration
    between Hosting and Cloud Functions, adding support for Phone Number
    Authentication, and continuing to improve Analytics in a number of ways. We’ve
    also started open
    sourcing our SDKs.
  • Mobile web
    developer certifications — At I/O’16 we launched the Associate Android
    Developer Certification. This year, we’re adding two new certifications for web
    developers: the Mobile
    Sites Certification and the Mobile Web
    Specialist Certification.

Powerful tools to acquire and engage new users; grow successful
businesses

  • Google
    Play Console — We announced several powerful, new features and reports in
    the Play Console to help developers improve their app’s performance, manage
    releases with confidence, reach a global audience, and grow their business. The
    Play Console also has a new name, to reflect its broadened business uses, and a
    fresh look to make it easier to get things done.
  • Android
    Instant Apps — We opened Android Instant Apps, a new way to run Android apps
    without requiring installation, to all
    developers. Now anyone can build and publish an instant app. There are also
    more than 50 new experiences available for users to try out from a variety of
    brands, such as Jet, New York Times, Vimeo and Zillow.
  • Payments, Monetization & Ads — We introduced a Google Payment API that
    enables developers to give their customers the ability to pay in apps and online
    with credit or debit cards saved to their Google Account. New AdMob integration
    with Google Analytics for Firebase helps them monetize efficiently and updates
    to Universal Apps Campaigns will help them grow their user base.

New interfaces to push the limits of what’s possible

  • Actions
    on Google for the Google Assistant — We brought Actions on Google to phones,
    introduced new features and functionality, improved our SDK and more. We also
    launched the Actions Console, a new developer console that helps developers work
    as a team, and collect data on app usage, performance and user discovery
    patterns. This new console is integrated with the Firebase and Google Cloud
    consoles.
  • VR
    and AR at Google — We’ll have more to share on the latest Daydream platform
    features and developer tools during our “VR and AR at Google” session tomorrow
    (May 18) at 9:30 AM PT in the Amphitheatre and on the livestream.

It’s important to us that developers are successful. In addition to building
products that help solve developer challenges, we’re on the ground in over 130
countries, growing and expanding the developer community through programs such
as Women Techmakers & Google
Developer Groups (GDGs).
We’re also investing in training programs like Google Developers
Certification and courses through Udacity and other partners to help
developers deepen their technical capability. We’re also excited to announce two
large multi-product developer events, Google Developer Days, which are planned
for Europe (September 2017 in Krakow, Poland) and India (December 2017 in
Bangalore, India). If you are interested to find out more, sign up for updates
on g.co/gdd2017.

During Google I/O, attendees and viewers have an opportunity to dive deep into
a number of these areas with 14 content tracks and 140+ breakout sessions –
covering Android to Assistant to VR — and all livestreamed. We’ve also launched
over 70 codelabs to get
developers up and running with our latest APIs today.

Whether it’s Android, Chrome, Play, VR/AR, the Cloud, and the Mobile Web — we’re
constantly investing in the platforms that connect developers to billions of
users around the world. Thank you to the continued support and feedback from the
developer community.


Android Developers Blog