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In addition to preparing a new full-screen app discovery feature, Google Play expands its developer tools.

While AI announcements took centre stage this year, Google’s I/O 2024 developer conference also highlighted new developments for Android developers. This year, Google Play is the focus of attention because of improvements to developer-facing tools such as the Play Integrity API and Google Play SDK Console, as well as new methods to attract users and a new app discovery feature.

Something known as the Engage SDK will be especially interesting to developers, as it will provide a full-screen, immersive, and user-specific method for app developers to present their content to consumers. But as of right now, Google claims, consumers cannot see this surface.

Instead, we are making the Engage SDK available as a developer preview, enabling developers to leverage the next surface to highlight the most important information from installed applications, personalised suggestions, and user promotions. If the user already has the app loaded, it may highlight the most relevant material from such applications. Developers may use this area to highlight the most interesting aspects of their software if the user hasn’t installed it. It is also possible to offer customized discounts and promotions.

To use this new capability, developers will have to connect with the Engage SDK, which takes about a week. Presently, the Engage SDK is available as an invite-only preview.

Play Points, the rewards programme of the Play ecosystem, releases coupons, discounts, and special in-game products. Now that the Play Console makes monitoring these promotions easy, developers may better tailor their campaigns.

Google has expanded the number of markets in which its Google Play Games on PC program is available and simplified the integration process with Play Games Services. More than 3,000 titles are now available in the programme’s catalogue, the business said.

Google is making its SDK Console available to any SDK creator, provided they deliver SDKs using a canonical Maven repository source that Google can validate. First introduced in 2021, the SDK Console provides resources like crash reporting, analytics, and direct developer communication in an effort to assist SDK developers in boosting their efficiency. With the extension, previously unsupported smaller SDKs and open source SDKs will now have access to the SDK Console. That would allow a wider range of SDK providers to provide developers with methods for updating to SDK versions that address problems and defects while adhering to the most recent Play Store policies.

To assist SDK owners, developers may also provide crash reports and ANR (Application Not Responding) problems.

Image Credits: Google

Additionally in development is the Play Integrity API, which debuted in 2022. To protect against risk and fraud, the API enables developers to verify that server requests and user activities originate from an unaltered version of their program. We are about to add three more features. One is “app access risk,” a public beta that alerts an app to another app grabbing the screen, showing overlays, or controlling the device. (Accessibility features won’t, however, set it off.) Additionally, the API can now provide a Play Protect verdict, alerting developers to the presence of Play Protect or any known malware on the device. “Recent device activity” is an additional tool that allows developers to pinpoint machines that generate a high volume of queries, potentially indicating artificial traffic or an attack, according to Google.

The Play Shop is releasing customised shop listings to assist developers in acquiring and engaging consumers. These listings allow developers to modify and tailor them to a variety of audiences. Now, the Play Console will propose keywords, and they may build listings depending on what people are looking for. Additionally, Google’s Gemini AI is useful for app descriptions.

Image Credits: Google

Following recent modifications to make the Play Store more helpful to those using tablets or watches, the listings now display screenshots, ratings, and reviews unique to each form factor. This will also be useful when consumers browse the page dedicated to applications for “other devices” or filter apps by device type.

Developers that employ deep links—that is, connections that take users to specific pages within their app—can now edit such links without submitting an app update for approval. Rather, they will be able to try out various links and subsequently publish them live via the Play Console’s deep link patching tool.

Along with the support for UPI in India and Pix in Brazil, the company also listed the changes it has made to Play Store commerce, including the ability for parents to approve purchases for children inside a Google Family setup and, in India, the ability to ask a family member or friend outside of your family group to buy an app or in-app product. To handle the latter, send an email or text message with a payment link.

Google said that it now allows developers to sell items as high as USD $999.99 (or the local equivalent), and that it automatically updates Play Store pricing to reflect currency swings against the US dollar. In addition, a new Play Billing Lab app allows developers to test features that will enhance the one-time purchase and subscription consumer experience.

In some areas, its installment subscription functionality has been available in early access, allowing users to pay for long-term subscriptions over time. So far, the program has increased user spending by 4% and overall subscription sign-ups by 8%, although Google has not specified when it will become more widely available.

Image Credits: Google

To take advantage of features, developers will need to upgrade to Play Billing Library 7.0 later this month, Google said.

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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