By Ben Frenkel, Google Play Games team
Hey game developers, back in March you may remember we added new game statistics in the Google Play Developer Console for those of you who had implemented Google Play Games: our cross-platform game services for Android, iOS and the web.
Starting today, we’re providing more insights into how your games are being used by adding country, age, and gender dimensions to the existing set of reports available in the Developer console. You’ll see demographics integrated into Overview stats as well as the Players reports for New and Active users.
With a better understanding of your users’ demographic composition, you’ll be able to make more effective decisions to improve retention and monetization. Here a few ways you could imagine using these new stats:
- You just launched your new game globally, and expected it do particularly well in Germany. Using country demographic data, you see that Germany is much less active than expected. After some digging, you realize that your tutorial was not properly translated to German. Based on this insight, you immediately roll out a fix to see if you can improve active users in Germany.
- After Looking at your new demographics report you realize that your game is really popular with women in their mid-20s. Your in-app purchase data corroborates this, showing that the one female hero character is the most popular purchase. Empowered by this data, you race to add female hero characters to your game.
Additionally, if you’re already using Google Play game services, there’s no extra integration needed! By logging in to the Google Play Developer Console you can start using demographics to better inform your decisions today.
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Lily Sheringham, Google Play team
Alley developed the app Hello
English to help Indians learn English through gamification, supporting over
15 dialects. More than 13 million people now use Hello English in India and
around the world.
Hear Nishant Patni, Founder & CEO and Pranshu Bhandari, Co-Founder, explain how
they optimized the app to address challenges faced by emerging markets. Learn
how they used various Google Play tools to address varying levels of
connectivity and device capabilities, and improve user retention.
more best practices about building for billions and watch
the ‘10 tips to build an app for billions of users’ video to get more tips.
Also, get the
Playbook for Developers app and stay up-to-date with more features and best
practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Ellie Powers, Product Manager, Google Play
With more than 50 billion app installs over the past year from users across 190 countries, Google Play continues to see incredible growth thanks to developers like you creating amazing experiences. Play is now reaching more than one billion users every month.
In February, we announced that we had paid out more than $ 7 billion to developers in the prior year alone. This week at Google I/O, we’re introducing new and powerful tools to help you further grow your business, improve decision making based on smarter insights, and better engage your user base with more relevant content.
Acquire users from the Developer Console
Once you’ve built a great app, the next important step is to proactively find ways to promote it and grow a loyal user base. App install ads are one powerful way to do that. In the coming months, you’ll be able to quickly and easily set up ad campaigns right from within the Google Play Developer Console for the first time.
All you need to do is set a total budget and the cost you’re willing to pay per user and we’ll scale your app promotion across our networks, including Google Search, AdMob, YouTube and the search ads we’re piloting on Google Play. With this new feature, you will will be able to better find the customers that are most likely to install your app.
Actionable insights with the Acquisition and Conversion Funnel
Whether you pay to acquire users or not, you want to know where they’re coming from. Through the Developer Console, you will soon be able to get a snapshot of how many users visit your Store listing, install your app, and make purchases. You’ll see where your most valuable users come from — across organic and paid traffic — and better understand where to focus your efforts.
Optimize your Play store listing with experiments
Your Play Store listing is extremely important, as it’s often the first touch point users have with your app. Starting today, we’re making it easier to optimize this page with support for A/B tests. You can run experiments with different versions of text and graphics to see which are most effective in converting visits into installs on Google Play. In our pilot program, we were thrilled to see that some developers like Kongregate achieved double-digit improvements in their install rates so far.
Test your app automatically on real devices with Cloud Test Lab
With the large variety of Android form factors in the market, testing your app on real devices is a critical step to ensuring a positive user experience on any device. However, you may not have access to every device that your users do. So we’re integrating the newly announced Cloud Test Lab into the Developer Console, which will allow you to automatically test your apps on hundreds of popular physical Android devices for free. We’re going to be rolling out this pilot program gradually, so we’ll welcome your feedback on it.
For each APK you upload to an alpha or beta channel, Google Play will execute fully automated testing of your app against physical devices matching your app targeting criteria and output a report with a detailed analysis of issues, including screenshots and logs. Google Cloud Test Lab will roll out to all developers later this year; you can sign-up to become a tester in the Developer Console now.
Build a data-driven games business with Player Analytics
Google Play Games has activated more than 180M new users in the past six months and continues to be the fastest growing mobile gaming platform in history.
Over the coming months, we’re adding new reports, player segments, game metrics, and event types to Player Analytics to help you manage your games business. We’re also bringing enhancements to our live operations tools that will enable dynamic content updates that make games feel more alive and engaging, gameplay to respond to changing player needs, and more fun, personalized user experiences. As the bar for success in mobile gaming continues to rise, we’re continuing to evolve our tools to help you meet the soaring expectations of players.
Find great apps – developer pages and search results
There are several ways in which we are improving the discoverability of great apps and games on Google Play to help drive more engagement. Starting today, you can create a unique homepage on Google Play to promote your entire app catalog. With your own developer page, you are able to upload graphics, explain what your company is all about and pick a special app to feature. This gives you a single destination to promote all of your apps on Google Play.
We are also helping guide users with broad interests (e.g. “shopping”) in a new search results experience.
The focus is on organizing results in an intuitive way that allows users to narrow their intent — such as grouping shopping apps into coupons apps and fashion apps. By doing so, users will be able to better see the range of apps that satisfy their needs, while also increasing the chances of discovering new and innovative apps that you’re building.
Family-friendly content in Google Play
Starting today, we’re making it easier to find family-friendly content on Google Play through new discovery features. On the Apps & Games and Movies & TV homepages, users can now hit the “Family” star to see a curated set of options for specific age groups. In Play Books, tap the “Children’s Books” star. These pages let you browse by age ranges to find content that’s the best fit for the family. If you’ve already opted-in your apps to the Designed for Families program and they’ve met the requirements, they’ll be included in the new family section so that parents can find suitable, trusted, high-quality apps and games more easily. Find out more about opting-in to the Designed for Families program.
Join us at Google I/O 2015
To learn more, tune-in live to “Developers connecting the world through Google Play” at 1pm PT / 4pm ET / 9pm GMT on May 29 on google.com/io.
If you’re at I/O 2015, come along to our breakout sessions where we’ll be talking about and demo’ing these new features. Find our sessions in the I/O 2015 schedule.
Check out developer.android.com/distribute over the coming weeks and months as we add I/O videos and more details about these and other new features.
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate
At Google I/O, we announced the rollout of Google Play services 7.5 that deliver new capabilities and optimizations to devices across the Android ecosystem. Google Play services ensures that you can build on the latest features from Google for your users, with the confidence that those services will work properly on Android 2.3 and higher devices.
You’ll find the addition of Smart Lock for Passwords, Instance ID, new APIs for Google Cloud Messaging and Google Cast, as well as access to the Google Maps API on Android Wear devices.
Smart Lock for Passwords
Typing in a password, particularly on a mobile device, is never a pleasant experience. In many cases, your users have already logged in on the web or another device – shouldn’t your login process know that? Smart Lock for Passwords builds on the Chrome Password Manager, adding a new
CredentialsApi API and UI on Android to retrieve saved credentials as part of your login process and saving new credentials for later use on other Android devices and any Chrome browser. Both password-based and Identity Provider (IDP, like Google Sign-In) credentials are supported. Keep your users logged in as they move between and to new devices; don’t let them drop off, get frustrated, or end up with multiple accounts.
Learn more about Smart Lock for Passwords on the developer site.
Instance ID, Identity, and Authorization
Instance ID (IID) allows you to retrieve a unique identifier for every app instance, providing a mechanism to authenticate and authorize actions, even if your app does not have user registration and accounts. For example, this allows you to uniquely determine which app instance is sending a request from by including the Instance ID token. We’ve also made it easy to handle edge cases to ensure that you’ll have valid Instance ID tokens.
Google Cloud Messaging
Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) gives developers a battery efficient mechanism for sending information to your users as well as send upstream messages from a device to your server.
Google Cloud Messaging and InstanceID
Previously, GCM used a unique registration ID to refer to each device – while these IDs will continue to work, you can now utilize Instance ID tokens for GCM, gaining all of the advantages of InstanceID around handling error cases. Instance ID tokens are fully compatible with user notifications, allowing you to send notifications to all of a user’s devices.
Topic based subscriptions
You’ll also get another new feature for switching to InstanceID with GCM – topic based subscriptions! This makes it easy to publish a message to exactly the right audience and have GCM handle all the heavy lifting of sending to all subscribed instances. Your app can subscribe to multiple topics, allowing you to create any set of topics needed to best handle your app’s messaging needs.
Receiving messages with GCM
Of course, just subscribing to receive messages is only half the battle: receiving GCM messages can now be done using a
GcmReceiver and a subclass of
GcmListenerService. These two classes make it easy to help your app reliably process messages, even when the device is awakened from deep sleep.
GCM Network Manager
Applications often need to sync data with their servers when new information is available. In GCM we refer to this model as “send to sync”. We made this task much simpler with the introduction of the GCM Network Manager APIs, which handles many of the common implementation patterns such as waiting for network connectivity, device charging, network retries, and backoff.
GcmNetworkManager will schedule your background tasks when it is most appropriate and it can batch multiple tasks together for efficiency and battery savings, even utilizing the
JobScheduler APIs for best performance on Android 5.0+ devices. With support for both one-off tasks and periodic tasks, this API serves as a flexible framework for many different types of operations.
App Invites Beta
Now in beta, App Invites is new functionality for both Android and iOS that provides a standard UI for users to invite their contacts to install your app and optionally deep link specifically to selected content, using your users’ device and Google-wide contacts as a source to drive referrals to increase the reach of your app.
With the ability to send invites via SMS or email, this provides a great mechanism to organically grow your user base, give your users a consistent way to share your app with exactly who would like it, and track how effective your invites are.
With App Invites, our goal is to take the hard work out of building user referral and onboarding flows, so that you can focus on your core app experience. Learn more about App Invites on the developer site!
Google Cast is a technology that lets you easily cast content from your mobile device or laptop right to your TV or speakers. With the new ability to use remote display on any Android, iOS, or Chrome app, better media support, better game support, we hope your Google Cast experience is better than ever!
Remote Display API
We are making it easy for mobile developers to bring graphically intensive apps or games to Google Cast receivers with Google Cast Remote Display APIs for Android and iOS. The new Remote Display API allows you to build a tailored, integrated second screen experience, without requiring an identical mirroring of content between mobile devices and the Google Cast device.
Learn more about Remote Display on the Google Cast Developers Site!
Autoplay and Queuing APIs
Playing single media items on Chromecast has been something
RemoteMediaPlayer (or CastCompanionLibrary’s
VideoCastController) has been doing well for some time. With this release,
RemoteMediaPlayer is gaining a full media queue and support for autoplay for a seamless media playback experience. This ensures that all connected devices can easily maintain a synchronized queue of upcoming media items, opening up new possibilities of creating collaborative Google Cast media experiences.
Game Manager APIs for Google Cast
Bringing your game to Google Cast can make for a great multiplayer experience, using a mobile device as a game controller and the TV to display the action. To make it easier to send messages and state changes to all connected clients and the cast receiver, Google Play services 7.5 introduces the
GameManagerClient and the Game Manager APIs for Google Cast, available for Android, iOS, Chrome, and for receivers.
Watches are great devices for telling time. But what if in addition showing you when you are, watches could easily show you where you are? With the new release, you can now use the familiar Maps APIs on Android Wear devices:
This makes it possible to display fully interactive maps, as well as lite mode maps, directly on Android Wear devices. You’ll be able to scroll and zoom interactive maps, show the user’s current location, and more. Check out the full list of supported features in the developer documentation and check out all the details on the Geo Developers blog.
Google Fit is an open platform designed to make building fitness apps, whether that means retrieving sensor data like current location and speed, collecting and storing activity data, or automatically aggregating that data into a single view of the user’s fitness data.
You’ll now be able to use the
RecordingApi for gathering estimated distance traveled and calories burned data, making it available to your app and other Google Fit enabled apps via the
Being active can take many forms. While some activities are easily measured in terms of steps or distance, strength training is measured in terms of type, resistance and repetitions. This type of data can now be stored in Google Fit via new support for a large number of workout exercises, helping users build a complete view of their activity.
SDK is now available!
Google Play services 7.5 is now available: get started with updated SDK now!
To learn more about Google Play services and the APIs available to you through it, visit the Google APIs for Android site.
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Anthony Morris, SWE Google Play
Google Play continues to grow rapidly, as Android users installed over 65
billion apps in the last year from the Google Play Store. We’re also seeing
developers move to update their apps more frequently to push great new content,
patch security vulnerabilities, and iterate quickly on user feedback.
However, many users are sensitive to the amount of data they use, especially if
they are not on Wi-Fi. Google Play is investing in improvements to reduce the
data that needs to be transferred for app installs and updates, while making
data cost more transparent to users.
Read on to understand the updates and learn some tips for ways to optimize the
size of your APK.
New Delta algorithm to reduce the size of app updates
For approximately 98% of app updates from the Play Store, only changes
(deltas) to APK files are downloaded and merged with the existing
files, reducing the size of updates. We recently rolled out a delta algorithm,
bsdiff, that further reduces
patches by up to 50% or more compared to the previous algorithm. Bsdiff is
specifically targeted to produce more efficient deltas of native libraries by
taking advantage of the specific ways in which compiled native code changes
between versions. To be most effective, native libraries should be stored
uncompressed (compression interferes with delta algorithms).
An example from Chrome:
|Patch Description||Previous patch size||Bsdiff Size|
|M46 to M47 major update||22.8 MB||12.9 MB|
|M47 minor update||15.3 MB||3.6 MB|
Apps that don’t have uncompressed native libraries can see a 5% decrease in size
on average, compared to the previous delta algorithm.
Applying the delta algorithm to APK Expansion Files to further
reduce update size
APK Expansion Files allow you to include additional large files up to 2GB in
size (e.g. high resolution graphics or media files) with your app, which is
especially popular with games. We have recently expanded our delta and
compression algorithms to apply to these APK Expansion Files in addition to
APKs, reducing the download size of initial installs by 12%, and updates by 65%
Clearer size information in the Play Store
Alongside the improvements to reduce download size, we also made information
displayed about data used and download sizes in the Play Store clearer. You can
now see actual download sizes, not the APK file size, in the Play Store. If you
already have an app, you will only see the update size. These changes are
rolling out now.
Tips to reduce your download sizes
1. Optimize for the right size measurements: Users care about download size (i.e. how many bytes are transferred when installing/updating an app), and they care about disk size (i.e. how much space the app takes up on disk). It’s important to note that neither of these are the same as the original APK file size nor necessarily correlated.
|Compressed Native Library||Uncompressed Native Library|
|APK Size||39MB||52MB (+25%)|
|Download size (install)||29MB||29MB (no change)|
|Download size (update)||29MB||21MB (-29%)|
|Disk size||71MB||52MB (-26%)/td>|
Chrome found that initial download size remained the same by not compressing the native library in their APK, while the APK size increased, because Google Play already performs compression for downloads. They also found that the update size decreased, as deltas are more effective with uncompressed files, and disk size decreased as you no longer need an compressed copy of the native library:
2. Reduce your APK size: Remove unnecessary data from the APK like unused resources and code.
3. Optimize parts of your APK to make them smaller: Using more efficient file formats, for example by using WebP instead of JPEG, or by using Proguard to remove unused code.
more about reducing APK sizes and watch the I/O 2016 session ‘Putting Your App on a
Diet’ to learn from
Wojtek Kaliciński, about how to reduce the size of your APK.
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Lily Sheringham, Google Play team
Based in Dublin, Ireland, StoryToys
is a leading publisher of interactive books and games for children. Like most
kids’ app developers, they faced the challenges of engaging with the right
audiences to get their content discovered. Since the launch of the Family
section on Google Play, StoryToys has experienced an uplift of 270% in revenue
and an increase of 1300% in downloads.
Hear Emmet O’Neill, Chief Product Officer, and Gavin Barrett, Commercial
Director, discuss how the Family section creates a trusted and creative space
for families to find new content. Also hear how beta testing, localized pricing
and more, has allowed StoryToy’s flagship app, My
Very Hungry Caterpillar, to significantly increase engagement and revenue.
more about Google Play for Families and get the Playbook
for Developers app to stay up-to-date with more features and best practices
that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Leticia Lago, Google Play team
In order to make the best possible games, Wooga works on roughly 40 concepts and prototypes per year, out of which 10 go into production, around seven soft launch, and only two make it to global launch. It’s what they call “the hit filter.” For their latest title, Agent Alice, they follow up with new episodes every week to maintain player interest and engagement over time.
The ability to quickly iterate both live and under development games is therefore key to Wooga’s business model — Android and Google Play provide them the tools they need and mean that new features and updates are made on Android first, before they get to other platforms.
Find out more from Sebastian Kriese, Head of Partnerships, and Pal Tamas Feher, Head of Engineering, and learn how the iteration features of Android and Google Play have contributed to successes such as Diamond Dash, Jelly Splash, and Agent Alice.
You can find out more about building successful games businesses on Android and Google Play at Google I/O 2015: in person, on the live stream, or session recordings after the event. Check out the following:
- Developers connecting the world through Google Play – Hear how the new mobile ecosystem including Google Play and Android are empowering developers to make good on the dream of connecting the world through technology to improve people’s lives. This session will be live streamed.
- Growing games with Google — In addition to consoles, PC, and browser gaming, as well as phone and tablet games, there are emerging fields including virtual reality and mobile games in the living room. This talk covers how Google is helping developers across this broad range of platforms. This session will be live streamed.
- What’s new in the Google Play Developer Console – Google Play’s new launches will help you acquire more users and improve the quality of your app. Hear an overview of the latest features and how you can start taking advantage of them in the Developer Console.
- Smarter approaches to app testing — Hear about the new ways Google can help maximize the success of your next app launch with cheaper and easier testing strategies.
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Jamil Moledina, Google Play, Games Strategic Lead
If you’re an indie game developer, you know that games are a powerful medium of
expression of art, whimsy, and delight. Being on Google Play can help you reach
over a billion users and build a successful, global business. That’s why we
recently introduced programs, like the Indie
Corner, to help more gamers discover your works of art.
To further celebrate and showcase the passion and innovation of indie game
developers, we’re hosting the Google Play Indie Games Festival at the Terra
Gallery in San Francisco, on September 24.
This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your indie title to the public,
increase your network, and compete to win great prizes, such as Tango devices,
free tickets for Google I/O 2017, and Google ad campaign support. Admission will
be free and players will get the chance to play and vote on their favorites.
If you’re interested in showcasing your game, we’re accepting
submissions now through August 14. We’ll then select high-quality games that
are both innovative and fun for the festival. Submissions are open to US and
Canadian developers with 15 or less full time staff. Only games published on or
after January 1, 2016 or those to be published by December 31, 2016 are
eligible. See complete
We encourage virtual reality and augmented reality game submissions that use the
Google VR SDK and the Tango
Tablet Development Kit.
At the end of August, we’ll announce the group of indies to be featured at the
You can learn more about the event here.
We can’t wait to see what innovative and fun experiences you share with us!
Android Developers Blog
Posted by Neto Marin, Developer Advocate
Promotions can be a valuable tool to increase user engagement or attract new users by offering content or features to a limited number of users free of charge.
We are happy to share an improvement in the Google Play Developer API that makes it easier to track your promotions from your own backend. Starting today, the API for Purchases.products will return “
Promo" as a new value for the field
purchaseType when the user redeems a promo code. Now, the possible values are:
0. Test(test purchases)
1. Promo(Promo code redemption purchase)
For purchases made using the standard in-app billing flow, the field will continue to not be set in the API response.
Please note: This state is only returned by the Purchases.products API. For subscriptions you may use Free Trials to offer free of charge subscription periods.
For more details about how to create and redeem promo codes, check the In-app Promotions documentation. For more details about the server-side API, check the Google Play Developer API documentation.
Android Developers Blog