May 22

Android Developer Story: Papumba grows revenue globally by localising its family titles on Google Play

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Google Play team

Papumba is an educational games developer based in Argentina, with a core team of four people and a vision to grow a global business.

Watch Gonzalo Rodriguez, CEO, and Andres Ballone, CFO, explain how working with a team of experts from across the world and adapting their games to local markets helped them find success globally.

Learn more about localized pricing and translation services to grow your app or game business globally on Google Play. Also, get the Playbook for Developers app to stay up-to-date on new features and learn best practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.


Android Developers Blog

May 17

Building with Google Pay


Posted by Gerardo Capiel and Varouj Chitilian, Google Pay

Today’s customers want to get things done faster than ever, whether they’re ordering groceries or shopping for a new pair of shoes. With Google Pay, we want to ensure checkout doesn’t slow them (or your conversions) down, while enhancing the customer experience at every step of the way.

Last week at Google I/O, we announced some exciting new features that do just that. We also shared the latest ways developers can use Google Pay to offer the best experiences at checkout and beyond—all available for free with our APIs. Here are some of the highlights and how you can make the most of them.

More places for customers to check out online

We’ve started rolling out support for checking out with Google Pay regardless of your browser or device. This means customers can pay with Google Pay on most major browsers from any device.

Enabling this functionality within your apps and sites is simple. Watch Google Pay software engineer Tony Chen do a website integration live on stage, then try it yourself using our developer docs.

But making checkout easier for your customers doesn’t just apply to how they pay. Chrome Autofill helps customers fill in forms automatically, so they can speed through the entire checkout process without getting bogged down by typing. To ensure your shoppers are getting the fastest checkout experience with Chrome Autofill, we recommend you check out our new best practices guide.

We’ll also be making it easier for customers to manage their payment methods in Google Pay by adding this functionality to our iOS and desktop experiences as well. The new functionality will allow people to add cards and see transactions whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for them, giving you access to a new group of customers who will be able to use Google Pay within your apps and sites. It also means that customers who add cards from a laptop can use those cards with Google Pay on an iOS device. (Try it for yourself at g.co/pay/demo.)

This new functionality will be launching soon, and you can learn more about it in our Build with Google Pay session.

Mobile tickets and passes with the Google Pay API for Passes

Building off our newly-launched support for prepaid transit passes, we’re now also supporting a new way for you to save and manage passes through our Google Pay API for Passes. This lets you create mobile event tickets and boarding passes that your customers can save to the Google Pay Android app. We’ve piloted this feature with Southwest, Fortress GB, and Ticketmaster, with more partners coming soon. Want to get on board? Sign up for more information.

Transactions come to Actions on Google

Actions on Google lets developers engage billions of users across the Google Assistant and soon Google Search, Android, and other surfaces by developing Actions and linking them with our ever-growing intents catalog. One of our sessions shows you how you can enable Google Pay in your Actions so your customers can make purchases with their Assistant across multiple surfaces, including mobile devices, Google Home, and soon, Smart Displays. Transactions are now available in Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. (We’ll be bringing them to Brazil, India, Italy, and Spain soon.)

Plus, we’re starting a developer preview where you can now enable transactions to sell digital content on the Google Assistant. That includes in-app purchases, subscriptions, games, experiences, and premium content.

We can’t wait to see all of the creative ways you use Google Pay to amplify your business and build better checkout experiences for your customers. Be sure to check out all of our I/O sessions for more ideas, tools, and tips. In the meantime, we’ll be hard at work on new features to keep making Google Pay the best experience possible—for you and your customers.


Android Developers Blog

May 13

Announcing the winners of the Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco; Indie Games Contest coming soon to Europe

Posted by Jamil Moledina, Google Play, Games Strategic Lead

Last Saturday, we hosted the first Google
Play Indie Games Festival in North America, where we showcased 30 amazing
games that celebrate the passion, innovation, and art of indies. After a
competitive round of voting from fans and on-stage presentations to a jury of
industry experts, we recognized seven finalists nominees and three winners.

Winners:
bit bit blocks
Presented by Greg Batha
Bit Bit Blocks is a cute and action-packed competitive puzzle game. Play with your friends on a single screen, or challenge yourself in single player mode. Head-to-head puzzle play anytime, anywhere.
Numbo Jumbo
Presented by Kaveh Daryabeygi, Wombo Combo
Numbo Jumbo is a casual mobile puzzle number game for iOS and Android. Players group numbers that add together: for example, [3, 5, 8] works because 3+5=8.
Orbit – Playing with Gravity
Presented by Chetan Surpur & Eric Rahman, Highkey Games
ORBIT puts a gravity simulator at the heart of a puzzle game. Launch planets with a flick of your finger, and try to get them into orbit around black holes. ORBIT also features a sandbox where you can create your own universes, control time, and paint with gravity.


Finalist nominees:

Antihero [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Tim Conkling
Antihero is a “fast-paced strategy game with an (Oliver) Twist.” Run a thieves’ guild in a gas-lit, corrupt city. Recruit urchins, hire thugs, steal everything – and bribe, blackmail, and assassinate your opposition. Single-player and cross-platform multiplayer for desktops, tablets, and phones.
Armajet [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Nicola Geretti & Alexander Krivicich, Super Bit Machine
Armajet is a free-to-play multiplayer shooter that pits teams of players against each other in fast-paced jetpack combat. Armajet is a best in class mobile game designed for spectator-friendly competitive gaming for tablets and smartphones. Players compete in a modern arena shooter that’s easy to learn, but hard to master.
Norman’s Night In: The Cave [coming later in 2016]
Presented by Nick Iorfino & Alex Reed, Bactrian Games
Norman’s Night In is a 2D puzzle-platformer that tells the tale of Norman and his fateful fall into the world of cave. While test driving the latest model 3c Bowling Ball, Norman finds himself lost with nothing but his loaned bball and a weird feeling that somehow he was meant to be there.
Parallyzed
Presented by David Fox, Double Coconut
Parallyzed is an atmospheric adventure platformer with unique gameplay, set in a dark and enchanting dreamscape. You play twin sisters who have been cast into separate dimensions. Red and Blue have different attributes and talents, are deeply connected, and have the ability to swap bodies at any time.

Finalists nominees and winners also received a range of prizes, including Google
I/O 2017 tickets, a Tango Development kit, Google Cloud credits, an NVIDIA
Android TV & K1 tablet, and a Razer Forge TV bundle.

Indie Games Contest coming to Europe

We’re continuing our effort to help indie game developers thrive by highlighting
innovative and fun games for fans around the world. Today, we are announcing the
Indie Games Contest for developers based in European countries (specific list of
countries coming soon!). This is a great opportunity for indie games developers
to win prizes that will help you showcase your art to industry experts and grow
your business and your community of players worldwide. Make sure you don’t miss
out on hearing the details by signing up
here for updates.

As we shared at the festival, it’s rewarding to see how Google Play has evolved
over the years. We’re now reaching over 1 billion users every month and there’s
literally something for everyone. From virtual reality to family indie games,
developers like you continue to inspire, provoke, and innovate through
beautiful, artistic games.


Android Developers Blog

May 10

Wear OS by Google: AoG support and new enhanced battery saver mode


Posted by Hoi Lam, Lead Developer Advocate, Wear OS by Google

At Google I/O, we launched the Wear OS by Google developer preview 2. This update added support for Actions on Google (AoG) and more power-related enhancements including a new battery saver mode.

This developer preview includes updated Android Emulator images and a downloadable system image for the Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth or Huawei Watch 2 Classic Bluetooth. This preview release is intended for developers only and not for daily or consumer use. Therefore, the preview release is only available via manual download and flash. Please refer to the release notes for known issues before downloading and flashing your device.

Support for Actions on Google

We have revamped the Google Assistant on Wear OS to support features such as visual cards, follow-on suggestion chips, and text-to-speech. For developers, we added support for Actions on Google to Wear OS and existing Actions will work on Wear OS out of the box. Be sure to observe best practices for Actions on Google to get the best results such as short concise dialog and adopting to both visual and vocal feedback. This feature does not depend on Android P and is being rolled out to all Wear 2.0 users.

Enhanced battery saver mode

In this Android P developer preview, we are launching an enhanced battery saver mode. While the watch is in this mode, the watch shows a power-efficient watch face and turns off a set of services including radios, the touch screen, and tilt to wake. Users can get the time by pressing the side button. A long press allows the user to switch back to a fully-operational mode and perform tasks such as paying with NFC or replying to a message. Developers should assume that their apps, watch faces, and complication data providers are not available in enhanced battery saver mode.

Update on power saving features

We received much feedback on the power saving features in the last developer preview. As a result, we have updates on two features:

  • Roll back of Wi-Fi off when BT is disconnected: To improve power consumption, the last developer preview would not connect to Wi-Fi when disconnected from Bluetooth. After listening carefully to user and developer feedback, we decided to roll back this change.
  • Limited background activity and foreground service: A number of health and fitness developers have said their apps require background monitoring of the user’s motion and other vitals throughout the day. The developers said their apps cannot perform background monitoring if background services are unable to set alarms and jobs. For these types of exceptional use cases, we recommend that the apps use foreground services to anchor alarms and jobs. For other use-cases, developer should look at both foreground service as well as limiting jobs and alarms to while the watch is on charger. We are still fine tuning this feature, your feedback and use-cases will be most helpful in helping us get this right.

Smart Reply for bridged notifications

Smart Reply has been enabled for bridged notifications from the user’s smartphone for some time. With the latest developer preview, we are introducing simplified Chinese support for our users in China. This feature is powered by an on-device model using TensorFlow Lite and the model is optimized for low-memory, low-power devices.

To use this feature, developers should set setAllowGeneratedReplies of the reply action to true. Here’s a sample code snippet with the important part highlighted in bold:

NotificationCompat.Action action =
    new NotificationCompat.Action.Builder(R.drawable.ic_reply_white_24dp,
        replyLabel, replyPendingIntent)
        .addRemoteInput(remoteInput)
        .setAllowGeneratedReplies(true) // <--- true to enable smart replies
        // Wear OS requires a hint to display the reply action inline.
        .extend(new NotificationCompat.Action.WearableExtender()
            .setHintDisplayActionInline(true))
        .build();

In addition, for messaging apps, we recommend that developers use MessagingStyle notifications. This can give the algorithm a more structured data set on which to base its recommendations.

Please give us your feedback

We expect to provide more updates to this preview before the final production release. Please submit any bugs you find via the Wear OS by Google issue tracker. The earlier you submit them, the higher the likelihood that we can include the fixes in the final release.


Android Developers Blog

May 09

I/O 2018: Everything new in the Google Play Console


Posted by Tian Lim, VP of UX and Product, Google Play

Google Play connects a thriving ecosystem of developers to people using more than 2 billion active Android devices around the world. In fact, more than 94 billion apps were installed from Google Play in the last year alone. We’re continuing to empower Android developers with new features in the Play Console to help you improve your app’s performance and grow your business. And, at Google I/O 2018, we’re introducing our vision for a new Android app model that is modular and dynamic.

Benefit from size savings with the Android App Bundle

The Android App Bundle is Android’s new publishing format, with which you can more easily deliver a great experience in a smaller app size, and optimize for the wide variety of Android devices and form factors available. The app bundle includes all your app’s compiled code and resources, but defers APK generation and signing to Google Play. You no longer have to build, sign, and manage multiple APKs.

Google Play’s new app serving model, called Dynamic Delivery, uses your app bundle to generate and serve optimized APKs for each user’s device configuration. This means people download only the code and resources they need to run your app. People see a smaller install size on the Play Store, can install your app more quickly, and save space on their devices.

(Left) An example of all resources being delivered to a device via a legacy APK.

(Right) An example of Dynamic Delivery serving just what’s needed to a device.

With the Android App Bundle, you’re also able to add dynamic feature modules to your app. Through Dynamic Delivery, your users can download your app’s dynamic features on-demand, instead of during the initial install, further reducing your app’s download size. To publish apps with dynamic feature modules, apply to join the beta.

Start using the Android App Bundle in the latest Android Studio canary release. Test your release using the testing tracks in the Play Console before pushing to production. Watch these I/O sessions to hear from the team as they introduce the new app model:

  • The future of apps on Android and Google Play: modular, instant, and dynamic

  • Build the new, modular Android App Bundle

Fix quality and performance issues in your app or game

An internal study Google ran last year found that over 40% of one-star reviews on the Play Store mentioned app stability as an issue. Conversely, people consistently reward the best performing apps with better ratings and reviews, leading to better rankings on Google Play and more installs. Not only that, but people tend to be more engaged and willing to spend more time and money in those apps. To help you understand and fix quality issues we’re improving a number of features in the Google Play Console.

  • Use the new internal test track to push your app to up to 100 internal testers in seconds before you release them to alpha, beta, or production. You can also have multiple closed test tracks for different versions of your app, before pushing them to open betas or production.

  • The pre-launch report summarizes issues found in alpha or beta versions of your app, based on automated testing on popular devices in Firebase Test Lab. There are several new features to help you test the parts of your app or game that crawlers find harder to reach: create demo loops for games written with OpenGL, record scripts in Android Studio for the test crawler to follow, identify deep links, and provide credentials to go behind logins. In addition to reporting crashes, performance and security issues, and taking screenshots of the crawled screens, the report will soon identify accessibility issues you should fix to ensure a positive user experience for the widest audience.
  • Android vitals now analyzes data about startup time and permission denials in addition to battery, rendering, and stability. The revamped dashboard highlights crash rate, ANR rate, excessive wakeups, and stuck wake locks: the core vitals developers should give attention to. All other vitals, when applicable to your type of app or game, should be monitored to ensure they aren’t having a negative effect. You’ll also see anomalies in any vitals, when there’s a sudden change you should be aware of, and benchmarks so that you can compare your app’s performance to that of similar apps. Exhibiting bad behavior in vitals will negatively affect the user experience in your app and is likely to result in bad ratings and poor discoverability on the Play Store.

Watch these I/O sessions where we introduce the new features and share examples of how developers are using them successfully:

  • Release management: successful launches and updates on Google Play

  • Autonomous and customized pre-launch testing in the Google Play Console
  • Android vitals: debug app performance and reap rewards

Improve your store performance and user acquisition

The Play Console has tools and reports to help your whole team understand and improve your app’s store performance and business metrics. The Play Console’s access management controls were recently improved so you can more easily grant access to your whole team while having granular control over which data and tools they can see and use.

  • The app dashboard has been improved so you can quickly digest need-to-know information and take action. The dashboard now shows more data, is easier to read, and is customizable. This should be your first stop to understand the latest activity around your app or game.

  • You can now configure the statistics report to show you how your instant apps are performing. See how many people are launching your instant app by different dimensions and how many go on to install the full app on their device. All app and game developers can build instant experiences today. Learn more in the instant apps documentation.
  • The acquisition report will start showing you more data about how people find your app and whether they go on to install it and make purchases. You can now see average revenue per user and retention benchmarks, to compare your app’s performance to similar apps, at every state of the acquisition funnel. Organic breakdown, rolling out soon, will separate the number of people who find your store listing by searching the Play Store from those who get there via browsing. You will also be able to see what search terms are driving the most traffic, conversions, and purchases. With these improvements, you can further optimize your efforts to grow and retain a valuable audience.
  • Order management has also been updated to enable you to offer partial refunds for in-app products and subscriptions.

Watch these I/O sessions where we introduce the new features and share examples of how developers are using them successfully:

  • Analyze your audience and benchmark metrics to grow on Google Play

  • New and advanced Google Play tools for game developers

Grow and optimize your subscriptions business

Subscriptions continue to see huge growth, with subscribers on Google Play growing over 80% year over year. Google Play Billing offers developers useful features to acquire, engage, and retain subscribers, and gives users a consistent and familiar purchase flow. We’re making improvements to help you prepare your subscriptions business for the future and to give users more information on their subscriptions.

  • With the Google Play Billing Library, you can easily integrate new features with minimal coding. Now with newly-released version 1.1, you can upgrade subscriptions without changing the renewal date. Also, you will soon be able to make price changes to existing SKUs.

  • The new subscriptions center on Google Play lets people manage their active subscriptions, including fixing payment issues or restoring canceled subscriptions. You can create deep links so your users can directly access subscription management options on the Play Store. Soon, people who cancel subscriptions will have the option to leave feedback stating why, which you will have access to in the Play Console.
  • Subscription reports in the Play Console have been updated to help you better understand your retention and churn across multiple subscriptions, times, and territories. You can now measure whether features such as free trials, account holds, and grace periods are successful in acquiring and retaining users.

Watch our I/O session where we explain the new features:

  • Grow and optimize your subscriptions with new Google Play features

Prepare for the upcoming Play requirement for target API level

As we have announced, Google Play will require new apps (from August 2018) and app updates (from November 2018) to target API level 26 or higher. For more information and practical guidance on preparing for the new requirement, watch the I/O session, Migrating your existing app to target Android Oreo and above, and review our migration guide. If you develop an SDK or library that’s used by developers, make sure it’s ready to target Oreo too and sign up to receive news and updates for SDK providers.

Get more resources to help you succeed on Google Play

To find out more about all these new features, learn best practices, understand how other developers are finding success, and hear from the teams building these features, watch the Android & Play sessions at I/O 2018. For more developer resources about how to improve your app’s performance on Google Play, read this guide to the Google Play Console and visit the Android developers website. Finally, to stay up to date, sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Medium where we post regularly.

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Android Developers Blog

May 09

Google I/O 2018: What’s new in Android


Posted By Stephanie Cuthbertson, Product Management Director, Android

As Android has grown exponentially over the past ten years, we’ve also seen our developer community grow dramatically. In countries like China, India, and Brazil, the number of developers using our IDE almost tripled – in just two years. With such growth, we feel an even greater responsibility to invest in our developer experience. Guided by your feedback, we’ve focused our efforts on making mobile development fast and easy, helping you get more users by making apps radically smaller, and increasing engagement to keep users coming back. We’re also pretty excited to see Android Things go to 1.0, creating new opportunities for you to develop – everything from major consumer devices, to cool remote control vehicles! As Day 1 of Google I/O kicks off, let’s take a closer look at these major themes from the Developer Keynote:

Development: making mobile development fast and easy

  • Android Jetpack — Today, we announced Android Jetpack, designed to accelerate your app development. Android Jetpack is the next generation of Android components, bringing together the benefits of the Support Library — backwards compatibility and immediate updates — to a larger set of components, making it quick and easy to build robust, high quality apps. Android Jetpack manages activities like background tasks, navigation, and lifecycle management, so you can eliminate boilerplate code and focus on what makes your app great. Android Jetpack is designed to work well with Kotlin, saving you even more code with Android KTX. The new Android Jetpack components released today include WorkManager, Paging, Navigation, and Slices.

  • Kotlin — Since announcing support for Kotlin last year, the developer community has embraced the language. Most importantly, 95% of developers tell us they are very happy with using Kotlin for their Android development. And, the more developers use it, the more that number rises. The number of Play Store apps using Kotlin grew 6x in the last year. 35% of pro developers use it, and that number is growing each month. We are continuing to improve the Kotlin developer experience across our libraries, tooling, runtime, documentation and training. Android KTX is launching today as part of Android Jetpack to optimize the Kotlin developer experience. Tooling continues to improve with Android Studio, Lint support, and R8 optimizations. We have even tuned the Android Runtime (ART) in Android P, so that apps built with Kotlin can run faster. We have rolled out Kotlin code snippets in our official documentation, and are publishing a Kotlin version of the API reference documentation today. Earlier this week, we launched a new Kotlin Bootcamp on Udacity, which is a great resource for developers who are new to Kotlin. Lastly, we now have a Kotlin specialization in the Google Developers Experts Program. If you still haven’t used Kotlin, I hope you you give it a try.
  • Android Studio 3.2 Canary — Android Studio 3.2 features tools for Android Jetpack including a visual Navigation Editor and new code refactoring tools. The canary release also includes build tools to create the new Android App Bundle format, Snapshots in the Android Emulator for fast start time, new R8 optimizer for smaller download and install app code size, a new Energy Profiler to measure app impact on battery life, and more. You can download the latest version of Android Studio 3.2 from the canary channel download page.

Distribution: making apps radically smaller

  • Android App Bundle & Google Play Dynamic Delivery — Introducing the new app model for Android. Dramatically reduce app size with a new publishing format—the Android App Bundle. In Android Studio, you’ll now build an app bundle that contains everything your app needs for any device—all the languages, every device screen size, every hardware architecture. Then, when a user downloads your app, Google Play’s new Dynamic Delivery will only deliver the code and resources matching the user’s device. People see a smaller install size on the Play Store, can download your app more quickly, and save space on their devices.

    (Left) An example of all resources being delivered to a device via a legacy APK.

    (Right) An example of Dynamic Delivery serving just what’s needed to a device.

  • Dynamic features via the Android App Bundle — The Android App Bundle also enables modularization so that you can deliver features on-demand, instead of during install. You can build dynamic feature modules in the latest Android Studio canary release. Join our beta program to publish them on Google Play.
  • Google Play Console — New features and reports in the Play Console will help you improve your app’s performance and grow your business. Read about the improvements to the dashboard, statistics, Android vitals, pre-launch report, acquisition report, and subscriptions dashboard. You can also upload, test, and publish apps using our new publishing format, the Android App Bundle.
  • Google Play Instant — After launching in beta at GDC, today we announced that all game developers can build instant apps and we’re thrilled to welcome Candy Crush Saga. Google Play Instant is now available on over 1 billion devices worldwide from the Play Store, search, social and most places you can tap a link. To make instant apps easier to build, we are launching a Unity plugin and beta integration with Cocos creator this week. Recently, we’ve started testing Google Play Instant compatibility with AdWords, allowing people to try out games directly from ads, across all the channels reached by Universal App campaigns.

Engagement: bringing users back more and more.

  • Slices — Slices are UI templates that display a rich array of dynamic, and interactive content from your app, across Android and within Google surfaces. Slices can include live-data, scrolling content, inline actions, and deep-linking into your app so users can do everything from playing music to checking reservation updates. Slices can also contain interactive controls like toggles and sliders. You can get started building Slices today, and they will begin appearing for users soon.

  • Actions — Actions are a new way to make your app’s capabilities and content more accessible, so that people can easily get to it at the right moment. App Actions will appear to users based on usage and relevance, across multiple Google and Android surfaces, such as the Google Search App, the Play Store, the Google Assistant, and the Launcher. App Actions will be available for all developers to try soon, please sign up here if you’d like to be notified. You can also choose to build a Conversational Action as a companion experience to your app. This works on a variety of Assistant-enabled devices, such as speakers and smart displays. Both types of Actions use a new common catalog of intents.

Smarter devices: a powerful platform for IoT devices

  • Android Things 1.0 — Android Things is Google’s managed OS that enables developers to build and maintain Internet of Things devices at scale. Earlier this year at CES, we announced Lenovo, Harman, LG, and iHome are all building Assistant-enabled products powered by Android Things.

    After a developer preview with over 100,000 SDK downloads and feedback from more than 10,000 developers, we announced Android Things 1.0 this week. Four new System-on-Modules (SoMs) are now supported on the platform with guaranteed long-term support for three years and additional options for extended support, making it easier to go from prototypes to production. To make product development more seamless than ever, the accompanying Android Things Console is also ready for production. It helps developers easily manage and update their devices with the latest stability fixes and security updates provided by Google.

    To get started with Android Things, visit our developer site and the new Community Hub to explore kits, sample code, community projects, and join Google’s IoT Developers Community to stay updated. We introduced a limited program to partner with the Android Things team for technical guidance and support building your product. If your company is interested, sign up for our OEM Partner Program.

In addition to all these new developments, we’re on the ground in over 140 countries, growing and expanding the developer community through programs such as Women Techmakers and Google Developer Groups (GDGs). We’re investing in training programs like Google Developers Certification, building more courses through Udacity and other partners, to help developers deepen their technical capability. Today, 225 Google Developers Agency Program members from 50 agencies in 15 countries, are Android Certified. As part of our Google Developers Experts Program, we also now have more than 90 Android Developer Experts around the world actively supporting developers, start-ups and companies to build and launch innovative apps.

We also continue to recognize the great work from top app and game developers. This year, we held our third annual Google Play Awards. The nominees represent some of the best experiences available on Android, with an emphasis on overall quality, strong design, technical performance, and innovation. Check out the winners and nominees.

During Google I/O, attendees and viewers have an opportunity to dive deep with 48 Android & Play breakout sessions. Thank you for all your wonderful feedback, and please keep giving us your advice on where we should go next.


Android Developers Blog

May 08

Building for Automotive: A sneak peek at Google I/O 2018


Posted by John Posavatz, Product Manager, Android Auto

Since 2015, Android developers have been building and growing great apps for cars. Drivers are benefiting from thoughtfully designed apps that provide safe and seamless connected experiences, whether they drive one of many Android Auto compatible cars or use the Android Auto app on their phones.

Today, thousands of apps for Android Auto are available through the Google Play Store for millions of drivers in over 30 countries around the world. And because the Google Assistant is available on Android Auto, developers are able to build voice-powered experiences on their apps that let drivers get things done while keeping their eyes on the road.

But it doesn’t end there — great driving apps will soon reach beyond Android Auto users. Last year, carmakers Volvo Cars and Audi announced the development of new connected cars powered by Android. As an important next step, we are now working with Volvo Cars to bring the Play Store and the Google Assistant directly into their next-generation cars, along with Google Maps. The opportunities for developers are endless — their apps are able to reach millions of Android Auto users today, and drivers of Android-powered cars in the future.

This week at Google I/O, we are sharing some updates that help developers build an even better in-car experience and become a part of the evolving ecosystem. We will be demonstrating those changes in our Sandbox by collaborating with several app developers, including iHeartRadio, Pandora, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Telegram, WhatsApp as well as Google’s own apps (including Android Messages, Play Books and Play Music).

New visual templates

First, a fresh new design enables media apps to make their content more accessible through new visual templates. For example, browsable content is placed front and center as soon as you open up an app, enabling you to easily recognize and quickly start listening to songs and podcasts.

Media search enhancements

Second, new search capabilities allow media apps to directly integrate their results into Android Auto. This allows drivers to quickly discover tracks that are related to what they’re currently listening to, such as a song’s live version, or a song with the same name from a different artist.

Group messaging and RCS

Finally, we now support group messaging and RCS. Using the Google Assistant, you can easily communicate with a group of friends while keeping your hands on the wheel.

If you’re attending I/O, come check out the Automotive session at Google I/O on May 9 at 9:30am PST. We will also be displaying three cars in the Sandbox area that showcase different integrations in real life, including a preview of Volvo’s future infotainment system displayed in the current XC40. If you’re not at I/O, you can still catch the livestream of the session. Developers can also sign up to learn more about the media and messaging updates as we release more information.


Android Developers Blog

May 05

Improved App Insight by Linking Google Analytics with Google Play

Posted by Ellie Powers, Google Play team

A key part of growing your app’s installed base is knowing more about your users — how they discover your app, what devices they use, what they do when they use your app, and how often they return to it. Understanding your users is now made easier through a new integration between Google Analytics and the Google Play Developer Console.

Starting today, you can link your Google Analytics account with your Google Play Developer Console to get powerful new insights into your app’s user acquisition and engagement. In Google Analytics, you’ll get a new report highlighting which campaigns are driving the most views, installs, and new users in Google Play. In the Developer Console, you’ll get new app stats that let you easily see your app’s engagement based on Analytics data.

This combined data can help you take your app business to the next level, especially if you’re using multiple campaigns or monetizing through advertisements and in-app products that depend on high engagement. Linking Google Analytics to your Developer Console is straightforward — the sections below explain the new types of data you can get and how to get started.

In Google Analytics, see your app’s Google Play referral flow

Once you’ve linked your Analytics account to your Developer Console, you’ll see a new report in Google Analytics called Google Play Referral Flow. This report details each of your campaigns and the user traffic that they drive. For each campaign, you can see how many users viewed listing page in Google Play and how many went on to install your app and ultimately launch it on their mobile devices.

With this data you can track the effectiveness of a wide range of campaigns — such as blogs, news articles, and ad campaigns — and get insight into which marketing activities are most effective for your business. You can find the Google Play report by going to Google Analytics and clicking on Acquisitions > Google Play > Referral Flow.

In the Developer Console, see engagement data from Google Analytics

If you’re already using Google Analytics, you know how important it is to see how users are interacting with your app. How often do they launch it? How much do they do with it? What are they doing inside the app?

Once you link your Analytics account, you’ll be able to see your app’s engagement data from Google Analytics right in the Statistics page in your Developer Console. You’ll be able to select two new metrics from the drop-down menu at the top of the page:

  • Active users: the number of users who have launched your app that day
  • New users: the number of users who have launched your app for the first time that day

These engagement metrics are integrated with your other app statistics, so you can analyze them further across other dimensions, such as by country, language, device, Android version, app version, and carrier.

How to get started

To get started, you first need to integrate Google Analytics into your app. If you haven’t done this already, download the Google Analytics SDK for Android and then take a look at the developer documentation to learn how to add Analytics to your app. Once you’ve integrated Analytics into your app, upload the app to the Developer Console.

Next, you’ll need to link your Developer Console to Google Analytics. To do this, go to the Developer Console and select the app. At the bottom of the Statistics page, you’ll see directions about how to complete the linking. The process takes just a few moments.

That’s it! You can now see both the Google Play Referral Flow report in Google Analytics and the new engagement metrics in the Developer Console.

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Android Developers Blog

May 04

Announcing new SDK versioning in Google Play services and Firebase


Posted by Doug Stevenson, Developer Advocate

Starting today, the Android SDKs for Google Play services and Firebase will be using a new build and versioning scheme. This may require some changes to the way you build your Android app, so be sure to read here thoroughly to get all the details.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s new in these SDKs:

  • All dependencies now use semantic versioning.
  • Each dependency may be updated individually, removing the need to upgrade them all simultaneously in your app.
  • Each dependency has a faster cycle for bug fixes and new features.

Beginning with version 15 of all Play services and Firebase libraries, version numbers adhere to the semantic versioning scheme. As you know, semver is an industry standard for versioning software components, so you can expect that version number changes for each library indicate the amount of change in the library.

Each Maven dependency matching com.google.android.gms:play-services-* and com.google.firebase:firebase-* is no longer required to have the same version number in order to work correctly at build time and at run time. You will be able to upgrade each dependency independently from each other. As such, a common pattern for specifying the shared version number for Play and Firebase dependencies in Gradle builds will no longer work as expected. The pattern (now anti-pattern) looks like this:

buildscript {
    ext {
        play_version = '15.0.0'
    }
}

dependencies {
    // DON'T DO THIS!!
    // The following use of the above buildscript property is no longer valid.
    implementation "com.google.android.gms:play-services-auth:$  {play_version}"
    implementation "com.google.firebase:firebase-auth:$  {play_version}"
    implementation "com.google.firebase:firebase-firestore:$  {play_version}"
}

The above Gradle configuration defines a buildscript property called play_version with the version of the Play and Firebase SDKs, and uses that to declare dependencies. This pattern has been helpful to keep all the dependency versions together, as previously required. However, this pattern no longer applies starting with version 15 for each library. Each dependency that you use may now be at different versions. You can expect that individual library updates may not be released at the same time – they may be updated independently.

In order to support this change in versioning, the Play services Gradle plugin has been updated. If you’re using this plugin, it appears like this at the bottom of build.gradle in your app module:

apply plugin: 'com.google.gms.google-services'

Here is what has changed in this plugin:

  • It checks for compatible versions of Play and Firebase libraries. This is similar to enabling the failOnVersionConflict() ResolutionStrategy.
  • Licensing information is embedded in each individual build artifact. If you use the oss-licenses plugin to manage license requirements, you should update it to the latest.

The first version of this plugin that works with the new versioning system is 3.3.0. When working with the new versions of Play and Firebase libraries, it should be added to your buildscript classpath dependencies as follows:

classpath 'com.google.gms:google-services:3.3.0'

If you’re not using this plugin, but you still want strict version checking of your dependencies, you can apply this new Gradle plugin instead:

apply plugin: 'com.google.android.gms.strict-version-matcher-plugin'

In order to use this plugin, you will also need to add the following to your buildscript classpath, obtained from Google’s Maven Repository:

classpath 'com.google.android.gms:strict-version-matcher-plugin:1.0.0'

If you’re not using Android Studio 3.1 to develop your app, you will need to upgrade in order to get the correct version checking behavior within the IDE. Get the newest version of Android Studio here.

With these changes in place, you are now able to adopt new versions of the various SDKs more freely, without a strict requirement to update everything at once. It also enables the development teams for each SDK to ship fixes and enhancements more quickly. Going forward, you can track the releases for Play services SDKs and Firebase SDKs with the provided links.


Android Developers Blog