The barrage of announcements from the Google I/O 2022 keynote was pretty extensive, but it doesn’t stop there. The “What’s New in Google Play” session continues with even more news focusing on new tools and features for developers that should enable them to make more informed decisions, better support their users and ultimately improve their business.
First up is the announcement of the Google Play SDK Index, a new directory populated with some of the most popular commercial SDKs on the Play Store. Entries highlight statistics such as B. how many apps they use and important details like required permissions. Through this program, Google is also building a closer relationship with SDK providers to ensure they remain compliant with the Store policies and to help developers avoid versions that could cause problems for their apps.
In the near future, Google Play plans to migrate app signing keys to Cloud Key Management, where they will be stored even more securely. Additionally, developers can switch to new signing keys from the Play Console annually as a precaution or in the event of a security breach.
When apps need more built-in security, the new Play Integrity API is designed to detect traffic from pirated or modified apps, or from rooted or otherwise compromised devices.
The session also highlighted the new data security section, which has a deadline of July 20, and the first developer preview of Privacy Sandbox on Android.
There is also a major update to the Android Vitals tool, which is used for app performance metrics. A new Developer Reporting API is being introduced, making Vitals’ data directly accessible for custom analytics and tools, and Firebase Crashlytics is also adding support for the new API, giving you easy access to more ways to analyze user experiences and crash reports.
There was also an update to the Reach and Devices tool, which adds views for revenue metrics and revenue growth metrics for monetized apps, and a redesign of the device catalog with a new look and even more data points to narrow down the devices your apps are using.
The latest version of the API for in-app updates now gives developers the ability to respond to updates within 15 minutes of a new version being released instead of waiting up to 24 hours. and it includes a “What’s New” dialog for developers to tell users a bit more about the update they’re downloading.
On the business side, Google Play is expanding custom store listings to 50 per app, each with unique deep links and analytics. Developers can also get more immediate results from Store Listing tests to see how well the changes are working. To make it easier to set up and manage deep links, a new Play Console page will be available soon, bringing learning resources and tools together in a single place.
Google Play is also working to improve and open up the LiveOps tool, which allows developers to promote special events, limited-time offers, and important updates through the Play Store. Early access participants have already seen notable improvements, and now it’s moving into a beta program with room for more developers. Developers can also now attach deep links through LiveOps and get additional event performance metrics.
In an effort to open up more ways to work with customer budgets, developers can now set extremely low prices on a base of 5 US cents or the equivalent in each market.
Subscriptions get a big upgrade too. It’s now possible to combine multiple plans into one subscription without creating new SKUs for each combination, and advanced logic is supported to allow for custom pricing decisions. Developers also have the option to update the pricing for new subscribers while the pricing for existing subscribers remains the same.
Users will also be able to take advantage of a new prepaid feature designed to make subscriptions easier in markets where pay-as-you-go is the norm. Developers can set renewal periods so users can take care of subscriptions when it’s convenient and sensible.
Finally, Google Play is adding a new in-app messaging API to notify users that their payments have been declined. These reminders make users more likely to fix the problem or update their payment method to stay subscribed.
All of these new subscription and payment features are supported in the new Play Billing Library 5.0.
Most of these additions are fairly basic on their own, but overall, Google Play greatly expands the ability to improve and fine-tune app experiences while increasing income by giving users more options.