The Power Of “Early Access”

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By Karolis Balciunas, VC & Startups Business Development Manager, Google Play

If you have ever launched a mobile app, you know full well that launching your app
into the world successfully requires more than publishing it and hoping for the
best.

It’s the diligent testing, constant user feedback loop and incremental tweaks
leading up to that special launch moment that truly count.

The Google Play Developer Console gives developers robust tools to do beta tests
or experiment with how they market their apps to users through the Play store
listing. Getting this critical early feedback from users requires just that —
users. And as a developer working on a new product that isn’t fully launched
yet, how do you find people to try your new app and take the time to give you
feedback?

1 Million Tester Installs And Counting

At Google I/O in May, we unveiled
a new destination on Google Play to address this dilemma head on. Together with
29 app and game partners, we launched an “Early Access” collection that made
select new Android titles that are running an open beta available for anyone to
try before they officially launch. It was an immediate hit. Early-adopter users
were eager and willing to send developers actionable, private feedback in
exchange for an opportunity to get their hands onto the latest exciting apps and
games. Most importantly, the feedback was objective and candid as it did not
come from their friends and family who are often afraid to hurt their feelings.
In just over a month since the collection became available to all users, open
beta titles have been installed over 1 million times and demand is only growing.

3 Powerful Stories

Our launch partners experienced the power of Early Access in various ways.
Peer-based language practice developer Lingbe was eager
to validate the concept of their app connecting natives with language learners
via voice conversations, which meant they needed to connect with a critical mass
of possible users around the world from different language and cultural
backgrounds. In just a few weeks, “the surge in users in addition to our current
fan base meant that we’ve had Brazilians practicing with Spanish users and
talking about their hobby in photography, Mexicans making friends with people
from India, and Filipinos talking to Moroccans!”

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Readfeed,
one of the first online book clubs on Android, relied on Early Access to solicit
feature requests, identify bugs, locate new and optimize existing target markets
as well as build a sizable reader community. They stated that “early access
confirmed that our target market exists and that we have something that they
need. I don’t think we’d be in the same place right now without it. It enabled
us to validate and effectively iterate on our idea from day one.”

Finally, Drippler
participated in Early Access to test their new “Wiz” app and understand their
beta title’s appeal to their target demographic. Their performance in the Early
Access collection as well as private feedback from thousands of newly acquired
beta testers allowed them to polish the app before the launch and gave them
confidence that their users will enjoy it.”

These three developers’ stories show us just a few ways that Early Access can
help developers build great new apps and games, and it shows the value of
getting early feedback from beta testers before launching more broadly.

Get Involved

If you are a developer getting ready to launch on Google Play, you can nominate
your app or game to be part of Early Access. Learn more here.

New titles are added weekly and thousands of users are looking to experiment
with new and exciting ideas.


Android Developers Blog

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