What’s New in Google Play (Google I/O’19)
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What’s New in Google Play (Google I/O’19)

August 9, 2019

the last 10 years, we’ve built an incredible
ecosystem together. Android works on
devices of all sizes and shapes in every country. Play has become one of the
largest app distribution stores in the world. And all of you have built
amazing apps and games that entertain, educate, and
help people to get stuff done. Along the way, we have
partnered together to deal with constant change
and seize opportunities. We have entered new markets,
figured out new business models like subscription, figured
out how to have better quality apps, and delight more users. We continue to
evolve the platform based on your feedback. At any given point in
time, we have about a half a dozen or more EAPs going. Thank you for
participating in them. Some of them never see
the light of the day, and others become enormous
global programs such as prereg, which started with
a tiny pilot and now is available for all
developers on the Play Console. So building an ecosystem
is a collaborative process. So we are really grateful
for what you do with us, and we listen to you. Many of the updates
you will hear today come directly from the
feedback you have given us. You told us my app is so big. I can’t add more features. Please give me data insights
to improve my app or game. And help me have
customized detailed pages when my users come to
look for my app or game. My colleagues from
product and engineering will give you more details
on what we have built, and our focus is to
make sure we help you build great apps and
successful businesses. Speaking of
successful businesses, one of the topics that
has come up a lot whenever I have spoken with
you guys recently is the topic of
sustainable growth. You have told us that you
want to build relationships with your users for years,
not weeks or months. Game developers are
building IP and storylines that have longevity
and using things like live ops and
community building to have users use their
games for the long run Ilkka Paananen, who is the
CEO of Supercell, envisions as games to be
used for 15-plus years. App developers are
also investing in this. They are looking at
subscriptions as a way to continually give
value to the users and keep them in the long run. On Play, we are also focused
on having happy users who stay with us for a long run. And for us, that
means a renewed focus on platform safety
and user trust. Users have told
us that they want to make sure that
there is transparency and control over how their
sensitive data is being used. And we are listening to them. As you heard
yesterday in queue, we are giving users more
control about how the data can be used,
whether its location access or which apps can do
background processing. On Play, they are also
strengthening our policies to further enhance safety for
users and build platform trust. We have always
encourage all of you to make sure that you only
use the permissions that you absolutely need. However, our guidelines
haven’t always been consistent nor has the enforcement
been consistent. So over the last
year, we started to take a few more steps. We started to make
changes to things like SMS and call log permissions,
restricting access to only those use cases
which we believed were valid. For example, if a user
picks your messaging app as the default messaging app, we
understood that this would mean that some of the features
that you have built– even the ones that users value– may not be available once these
changes were put into motion. And we worked with you
to find alternatives. I am very happy to announce here
that based on those changes, we have reduced apps
that get access to SMS and call log by 98%. And in doing so, we
have managed to get most people to have some
other way of accessing the same functionality or
eliminate minor functionality. There are more changes coming. In these changes, we are going
to think about all the stuff that’s happening on q and
look about what those changes we need to do on Play
to safeguard more apps and games as especially those
that are targeting families. As we make those changes, we
will continue to listen to you. So you told us that our
change process, the input form, the appeals process,
the actions you need to take, has room for improvement. And we hear you. So here’s my commitment
to you today. We will be more transparent
about the changes we will make, the actions you
need to take, and we will give you sufficient
time to make those changes. And here’s my ask of you. Please pay attention
to our comms. They will be on your Play
Console, emails, logs, and prioritize these changes. Together, we will build
an ecosystem which businesses are sustainable
and users are happy and stay for the long run. So now let’s talk
about what’s new. So I have my colleagues
coming up to give you details. Kobi will come up
and talk about ways to develop apps to reach
lots of users using features such as such as Android
app bundles and Play’s dynamic delivery. And then Molina will come in and
talk about release tools that help you iterate quickly
release preand then think about tracking performance
and improving your app post launch. And then we have Aurash
coming in and talking about the many tools we have
built to grow your business sustainably through things like
marketing and monetization. So without further ado,
put your hands together to welcome Kobi Glick. [APPLAUSE] KOBI GLICK: Purnima. Hi, everyone. I’m Kobi from the Play Store. I want to show you how
to use our platform to reach more users
and grow your business. Google Play has always
focused on developer needs, and those needs didn’t
change that much since we launched Play a few years ago. You need to build an
app, deliver it to users, and grow your business. This includes driving discovery,
engagement, monetization, and analyzing your
app performance. But while your basic needs
didn’t change that much, Google Play has gotten
much, much bigger. Plano serves a tremendous number
of users all over the world– users coming from
different cultures, speaking different languages,
using different devices and connectivity profiles. And it’s created new
challenges and opportunities. And to open the door for this
new business opportunity, you need to tackle some
more complex business needs. For example, how do you reach
users in emerging markets, how do you communicate
to those users. How do you communicate
to those users for your start listing
page in Google Play? How do you build your app was
storage and data costs in mind? So as we’ve grown, we introduced
a number of tools and features to help you tackle those
new business needs. In this talk, we’re
going to show you a bunch of features
we’re launching today to help you develop,
release, and grow your apps and games on Google Play. Let’s start with development. When you think about
the Play Store, you typically think
about the store front, but Play’s more than that. Behind the scenes,
we’re doing a lot to keep your apps and games
up to date and your business running. And I want to give you some
context about the scale we’re dealing with. Every month, we
send two exabytes of app installs and updates. This is a huge amount of data. And in fact the raw
data size is 5 exabytes. But thanks to Play’s
patching and compression, we’re able to cut down the
download size for users by 60%. This is not only great for
users, but also for you since it makes your app delivery
more efficient and reliable. And that’s not the
only thing we’re doing to make your app
development more efficient. Last year, we
introduced a change to the APK format you’ve been
using for the first 10 years on Android. We told you why we think
it’s a time for a change. Why? Because the APK is inefficient. Security could be
better, and it’s built from monolithic apps. With the APK, devices get code
and resources they don’t need. If you ever lose or
compromise your signing key, you need to abandon your app
and create a new listing. And you always have to ship
each one of your features to all your users. So last year, we introduced
Android’s new publishing format, the Android app
bundle, and a completely new dynamic delivery
framework on Google Play. The bundle is efficient, secure,
and it enables modular apps. And the momentum we’ve
seen is incredible. There are now over
80,000 apps and games that switched to App Bundle
in production and Google Play with an average size
reduction of 20%. As a result of the size savings,
app switching to the Bundle C up to 11% install uplift. Let’s take a look at
some of the apps who switched with the bundle
and their size savings. You can see apps
like Twitter, who were part of our early access
developer program last year. And you can see apps
like PayPal, Tinder, and “Clash of
Clans” by supercell who switched with the
bundle earlier this year. And more Google Apps
are switching too– Photos, Home, and Duo
all now use our bundles in production in Google Play
with some very significant side savings, like you
can see right here. To help you track and
optimize your app size, today, we’re launching a new
section of Android vitals with new metrics, reporting,
and guidance in this area. You will be able to see both
the download size of your app, as well as the size of your
app right after the install. We will show you how your
app size changes over time and provide you information
on how to further reduce it. So that’s the efficiency
aspect of the App Bundle. Now let’s talk about
the security aspect. You’re signing key is no
more secure because Google Play holds a copy and
protects it from loss. And today, we’re
launching a new feature that allows you to upgrade
the cryptographic strength of your signing key for new
installs and their updates. Some apps on Google Play
sign with old signing keys, and our new feature is the
only backward compatible way to increase their strength. And it’s only available
when you enrolled into apps signing by Google Play. Finally, let’s talk about
the modularity aspect. The App Bundle
introduces modularization through dynamic feature modules. This increases
engineering velocity because teams can design,
build, and maintain features independently. Facebook, for example,
has found success using dynamic features to
implement functionality that is relatively separate
than the rest of the app. They’re then adding those
features to the main app without increasing
its base install size. Dynamic features allow you to
customize when and to whom you deliver specific functionality. Today, we’re announcing that
dynamic features are coming out of beta and are now available
to all of you, including some new delivery options. With dynamic features, you
can deliver functionality on demand. For example, redBus
is an app that allows users by bus tickets. They use dynamic features
to test a new business idea, allowing enterprise consumers
to book tickets for events. Dynamic features are
perfect for this use case because redBus is able to
target specific audience and determine the
product market fit for this new line of business. The ability to deliver
this feature only to users who want
them allows redBus to keep their upsized small
at the point of install and provide a more
customized experience to users who are interested in
this additional functionality. Today, we’re also
introducing the option to deliver features
conditionally at the time of install. This means you can control
which parts of your app would be delivered
to users based on the country or the
features of their device. For example, if you
have an AR feature, you can decide to install it
only on AR capable devices. As you see here, you can
define a feature module as conditional with a very
simple change to app manifest. You can also instant
enable modules to offer instant experiences. The Android App Bundle now
fully supports Instant Apps. So you can build and
publish a single artifact for both your Instant Apps
and installed experiences. During our beta program,
we had many developers who implemented
some very cool use cases with dynamic features. For example, like you’ve
seen in the video earlier, Netflix is now delivering their
customer support functionality to their users as a dynamic
feature in production. This means that only users
that need to call for support actually need to
download this feature. By using the App Bundle
and dynamic delivery features such as
this, Netflix were able to reduce the download
size order up by 33%– from 23 megabyte to 15
megabytes and they’re just getting started. So switch to App Bundle
for the size savings and stay for the customizable
delivery options. We’re big believers
in app modularity. We think this is
the future of apps, and our dynamic framework
paves the way to that future. And there’s one more thing
we’re launching as part of our dynamic framework today. The in-app updates API is
now available to all of you. We know that sometime it’s
really important for you to get your users on the
latest version of your app. We’ve seen how some
developers implemented this through blocking screens or
even send emails to their users. So one of your top
requests from Google Play was that we allow
you to update users that are on an old version. And today, we’re excited
to make it happen. Our new API allows you
to get users to update without ever leaving your app. Here’s the popular
Indian food delivery app Swiggy using the
flexible update flow to provide a user experience
that matches their look and feel. You can also use
the immediate flow for first simpler
integration that handles every aspect
of the update flow. Across all our
early axis partners, we’ve seen a median
user acceptance rate of 50% for such in-app updates. So that’s it for the
development section, and now Milena will tell
you about releasing your app and analyzing its performance. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] MILENA NIKOLIC: Thanks, Kobi. Releasing your app or an update
is the most critical activity you can do in the Play Console. It’s how you actually
deliver all the great things you build to your users. And every month, more
than 750,000 APKs get rolled out to Play Console. That represents more than
half a million app makers, like yourselves,
excited to be pushing their latest and greatest
changes to their user audience. And again, it started simple– release a single a big to
production, which we released with the very first version
of Android market publisher site back in 2009. But as Android apps
got more traction, the needs to test your
app before releasing it became more important. Play led the mobile developer
market in this sense and launched beta testing
and stage rollouts in 2013. We’re proud to say we were
the first to introduce the tools, which are now the
established best practice for successful
mobile developers. In 2016, Play
introduced open beat them allowing you
to massively scale beta testing even before
public launch of your app. This has become a
super popular choice for leading app
developers like WhatsApp, now have 25 million
open beta testers. You then told us you wanted
more tools to further ensure your apps are ready to launch. So last year, we
launched internal testing to help you create
faster test releases. Now more than 150,000 apps
use internal testing tracks. We also launch multiple
close testing tracks to help you vet
different feature releases with different
groups of testers, for example, different
themes within your company. To date, 35,000 apps
have used this feature. And this year, we’re pushing
the envelope even further. You told us that it’s
sometimes painful to have to create a
release just if you want to share a test build
with a member of your QA team or your product manager. So today, we’re launching
internal app sharing. This new feature allows
you to share test builds with your team in a
matter of seconds– just drag and drop in our
bundle and get a sharable URL to install your desk version. You don’t need to worry about
version code, signing keys, or most other
validations that you need to think about when you’re
launching your production release. We believe this combination
of a speedy upload and fully featured Play
distribution will enable you to iterate faster and better
even as the ecosystem grows more complex. This also addresses the
biggest feature requests that we’ve heard from you,
which was to provide better App Bundle testing, integration
into your workflows. Now you can simply upload your
bundle, get a shareable URL, and use this URL to download
the APKs that are then dynamically delivered by Play. OK, so now that you
released your app, let’s talk about how you analyze
its health and performance. Here we first started
with a simple list of crash reports, which
was helpful but not actionable enough. Every app crashes sometimes. The important question is is
your app actually doing well? So a couple of years ago,
we launched Android Vitals. Vitals include 15
engineering metrics across five performance areas
that represent the things users care about the most. They represent the performance
and quality of your app as experienced on real devices
in the hands of real users in the real world. Today, over 100,000
developers use Android Vitals, including 60% of top 1,000. It’s an important
tool to help you focus your improvements exactly
where we have the biggest opportunities. Did you know that 42%
of one star reviews mentioned stability or bugs? App performance matters,
and Android Vitals can help you address it. Last year, we launched
category benchmarks to show you how your app
performs against other apps in your category. But you told us
those benchmarks were too broad to yield
meaningful results. We thought about
this feedback a lot and spent a long time trying
to work out a solution that works for everyone. On the one hand, we know
we’re in a unique position to share data
across the ecosystem that you can’t
get anywhere else. But on the other
hand, we also need to protect the privacy
of individual businesses that we serve. So how can we bridge this gap? Today, we’re pleased to
announce developer selected peer benchmarks for Android vitals. You can also a team of eight
to 12 peers to compare your app to, then see the median
value for the peer, as well as the difference
between your app and your peer’s. And it’s not just for vitals. We’re building new
benchmarks platform in a fully generic way. So over the next
few months, you’ll be able to see the
benchmark value for almost any metric in the console. For public metrics,
like operating, you can see benchmarks
for the peer set you’ve manually selected. And for business sensitive
metrics, like conversion rate, you can compare your app
to an autogenerated peer set of around 100
most similar apps. So now we can finally know
if your numbers are good and whether you’re keeping
up with your peers. For example, you’ll be able to
see if your uninstall rate is higher than your peers,
then compare how you’re doing going to common
causes of retention issues like crash rate or a APK size. We’re super excited to see how
you use this data to get ahead. OK, let’s talk some more
about the business performance reports. Here we also started with
simple basic install metrics, then over the years expanded
to specialized reports to give you more critical
insights into your revenue and acquisition. We even added by
our reporting tool for you to track immediate
effects of your updates. Today, we’re announcing the
biggest change the core metrics since we started the data
reporting in the console. Our teams have been
working for almost a year to redefine and rebuild these
metrics from the ground up, all to enable you to answer some
of the most critical business questions that you have. For example, how many
new users you acquired or how many existing users
you lost in the past 30 days? The new metrics are
broader and more accurate. For example, you’ll now be able
to see a reporting on returning users, which is critical
for understanding your total acquisition. You can query the performance
by acquisition channels that only play an insight
into, for example, peer to peer sharing
and app preinstalls. And you can reliably
aggregate and dedupe all of this over periods
from hours to quarters. Our main focus was to
give you the right data, but all in all,
this new launch also offers 10 times more metrics and
variations than you currently have access to. And to make data
consumption easier, we’ve updated the
statistics page to automatically
perform common analysis like benchmarking growth rates
and performing automatic period and period charting. So to recap, new
metrics will give you insight into your
app’s performance that you’ve never had before. And the new stats page will
help you find out what happened, why it happened, and whether
what happened was good or not. We’re also making changes
to another key source of performance data,
your user reviews. Many of you asked us to change
the way we calculate Google Play store rating to better
reflect the current quality of your app or game. You told us that
you want a rating based on what your app is today,
not what it was years ago. And we agree. So today, I’m happy to announce
that the average rating calculation is changing. Instead of a lifetime
cumulative value, your new average will
be recalculated to give more weight to the
most recent ratings. With this change,
your place the rating will not only give users
better understanding of the current
state of your app. It will also better
reflect all your hard work and improvements. Users won’t see the updated
value in the Play Store until August, but you can
preview your new rating in the Play Console today. Of course, ratings are only
half of the feedback equation. Your users also leave reviews. Everyday developers respond
to more than 100,000 reviews into Play Console. And when they do,
we’ve seen that users react very positively. When receiving a
reply from developers, users increase their rating
by 0.7 stars on average. Soin addition to
the ratings change, we’re making it easier to
respond to user reviews. Build by Google
Research suggested replies uses machine learning
to provide one TouchSmart responses for easier
text communication. You may already be familiar
with this type of feature from Gmail and Messages. But if you’re not,
it’s very easy to use. When you go to reply
to user review. You can see three
suggested replies. They have been
created automatically based on the content
of a user review and the way you naturally
communicate to your users. You can choose to
send one as-is. You can customize it for
more personalization, or you can write in
your reply from scratch. The choice is yours. All these new features
I talked about were designed with
one thing in mind, to help you succeed by
enabling you to release faster, measure your app health, and
improve your performance. And now Aurash will
tell you about what Play does help your business grow. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] AURASH MAHBOD: Thank you. Awesome. Thanks, Milena. We’ve been focused
on building tools to help you grow your app,
retain users, and improve monetization. Every month, over 2 billion
users come to the Play store to discover new apps. That’s 2 billion users
waiting to discover your app, and we want to
make sure you have the right tools and
the right support to reach every one of them. Today, I’m going to talk to
you about three key areas where Google Play can help
grow your business. First, optimizing
your store listing; second, driving games
discovery; and third improving monetization. So let’s dive in
with star listings. Back in 2015, we launched
store listing experiments, enabling you to A/B
test different variants of your store listings page. We were excited to see how
quickly developers adopted this feature to test everything
from icons and screenshots to titles and descriptions. And we were even more
surprised to see developers hiring dedicated teams
to specifically focus on apps or optimization. Your enthusiasm and
feedback in this area led us to invest more. And so recently, we launched
custom listing pages. With this capability,
you now have the option of having multiple
unique listing pages in production targetable
to different audiences like country. Over the holidays,
Refi, a developer from India with a cookbook
app, leveraged this country targeting capability to
tune their featured graphic by country, resulting in a 17%
increase to install conversion. And today, I’m
excited to announce that we’re taking this a step
further with a new early access program. Custom listings
by install state– with this capability,
you now can target three new audiences– users who have never
installed your app, users who’ve
uninstalled your app, and users who currently
have your app installed. We’re excited about this. And if you’re interested
in trying it out, check out the link. Also at GDC this
year, we announced the general availability
of preregistration support. With preregistration,
you can now build hype and excitement
around your app or game prior to launch. Today, we’re adding two
new features onto this. First, you can now have
custom listings pages for the preregistration stage. And second, we’re
adding a new feature we call pre registration
rewards, which now enables you to give
users who preregister a special in-app gift. Nexon the creator
of the game “Faith,” leverages this
capability and saw that users who
were given a reward were 20% more likely to
be retained at day 30. They also saw a
significant improvement in conversion between
people who preregistered and users who actually installed
the app and it was released. We’re really excited
about these capabilities and see how you use them to
tune your conversion funnel. As always, please let us
know if you have feedback. We’d like not improve. And one last thing while we’re
on the topic of that conversion funnel, I want to make a
quick plug for app icons. We announced the new icon
spec earlier this year, and we’d like everyone to
update their icons by June 24. The goal here is really
to provide a more clean and polished
user experience within the store for our users. For those of you who can’t
make that date, don’t stress– we have a great legacy mode that
keeps your icons looking good until you have time
to update them. OK, with that let’s
switch gears a little bit and talk about games discovery. So I thought it’d be interesting
to give a little bit of context as we’ve been thinking about
this space for a long time. We had two key
insights that we’re thinking about how to
evolve the discovery experience in the store. First, we realized that most
of the discovery experience is centered around a single
piece of metadata, your app icon. And while you all spend a lot
of time thinking about how to tune that icon to communicate
your brand, the IP of the game, the category, et cetera,
at the end of the day, there’s a physical limit
with how much you can communicate with those pixels. The second
realization we had was that the deeper you go
into the user funnel, the closer you get the user
to the actual experience of playing the game. The more compelling
and rich that content is enabling users
to make informed choices. And as a result, we
really tried to push for a more content forward
experience in the Play Store. Drawing all of that
great rich content from the game, your
store listings page, and syndicating it
all across the store. And you can see examples
of this in production today with things like trailers
and screenshots, auto playing videos, and events. These formats are a great
way to attract new users and to be eligible for them. You just need to make sure
that you’ve done two things. First, you need to make sure
that you have at least three 16 by 9 screenshots uploaded
to the developer console. And second, you need to check
that your promotional video has monetization disabled
and is made public. We also launched Google
Play Instant last year with the goal of furthering
this content forward experience. The goal here is
really to enable users to jump in and
try the game out, getting a quick feel for
it without having to commit to installing or uninstalling. And we’ve seen massive
growth in the adoption of instant, especially
amongst our largest, most successful partners
in the ecosystem. The number of instant
games has exploded– hundreds of them in the
store actually and developers are starting to see
great uplift here. Game developers
are seeing install conversions increased
by up to 20% with a great instant experience. And this is particularly
useful for paid apps and games where now you can enable try
before you buy functionality. As a result of
the success, we’ve expanded the footprint of
instant across the store by syndicating the Try
Now button everywhere. And with the advent
of the app bundle and improved
integration into Unity, adopting instant is
easier than ever. Lastly, we’ve been
focused on monetization. In the last year, we expanded
our international footprint, especially in emerging markets. We added seller support
to 31 new markets. We expanded our wallet
program to cover 14 countries, and we added 20 new direct
care, building partnerships our direct carrier
billing footprint alone reaches over 1.3
billion devices in the fleet, and that’s just one of
our forms of payment. We know that
emerging markets are a key area of
growth for you all, which is why we’re excited to
announce pending transactions. This is the new class of delayed
form of payment like cash, bank transfer, and direct debit. And for developers with
subscription businesses, we’re extremely excited
about our subscribe and install feature. This features a
streamlined flow that lets the user sign
up for a free trial and install the app in
the same simple flow. It’s an early access right
now, and our partners are seeing amazing
results with double digit growth in the number
of paid subscribers. All of these features
and more are only available with a new version
of the Billing Library. And I do mean and more. There was a lot I didn’t
have time to cover today. So I highly recommend
checking out the deep dive but what’s new in Google Play
billing session later today. And with that, I’d like
to welcome Purnima back to the stage. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] PURNIMA KOCHIKAR:
Thank you, Aurash. Wow that was a lot
of great stuff– yes. Oh, come on. You can do better than that. We worked very hard
for an entire year. We really, really
hope that you will use these features
to develop apps that can reach even
bigger audiences and release them and
track them and grow them into sustainable businesses. I know it’s a lot
of information. So I want to share
two helpful resources. Behind me is a link
to a blog post, which will recap all the features
we have talked about. So please take a look
at the blog post. I’ll give you a minute
I shiould move. aside. And we have this wonderful thing
called the Play Academy where you can go and learn all
details of all these features, learn how to use
them, et cetera. So please take a look
at the Play Academy, use it, so there is a link
to a Play Academy here. And finally, as
always, we sincerely hope you will let
us know once you’ve used it how these
features have helped you, things, we can improve. And we are here to listen and
do more with you together. I want to thank you on behalf
of Kobi, Milena, Aurash, and myself and the
entire Play team for your continued partnership. I am excited about
to see what you will do with the features
we shared with you today and look forward to
seeing you next year. Have a wonderful I/O 2019. Thank you very much. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Only registered users can comment.

  1. No actually all you did is ruin any call recording app out there by denying CONTACT access so thumb sup for that. all my recorded phone call now are saved as unkwnon

  2. People who are looking for in-app updates, here you go https://developer.android.com/guide/app-bundle/in-app-updates

  3. Add built-in icon pack for Google Play to make user experiance funnier . I want to be able to choose what icon Google Play should have in my launcer. Give us few options. I know there are a lot thirt party apps can do that but it doesnt work for all launcers. What you think Google?

  4. This thing that you did with SMS and READ CALL LOG was really bad. Now i can't get a permission from google play of uploading my app on google play, though my app corresponds to your policies for the app that can use Read Call Log. Now my app lacks functionality, Thanks Google. Now i can't identify and block calls on android p and higher.

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