Developers have certainly made great use of the Alpha and Beta distribution channels in the Play Store since they became available last summer. There was one glaring oversight: developers could only write a single block of text for the "What's New" section. This often led to changelogs that left beta testers in the dark about changes or confusing regular users with promises of new features and fixes that hadn't yet materialized in the stable channel.
We've seen Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all turn to the Play Store to manage their beta programs, and while this is a great mechanism for handling unpolished software releases, most of us use our phones for more than making status updates, tweeting, and sending private pictures. There are other apps out there that it would be fun to have early access to, and web browsers rank high among them.
A number of social apps have turned to the Play Store to manage their betas. We've already seen Facebook and Snapchat launch official beta versions to anyone who signs up for the privilege, and now Twitter is doing the same. If you've signed up for either of the other programs, the routine should feel pretty familiar. The experimental build will replace the current Twitter app on your phone, unlike the Chrome beta that can exist side-by-side with the stable release.
Snapchat is now the latest prominent app to start using the Play Store beta testing mechanism to get new features in front of users sooner, something we've also seen from Facebook. If you haven't already heard of Snapchat, think of it as a service that could have saved Anthony Weiner a great deal of headache. Users use it to send photos, videos, and text messages that automatically delete from the recipient's device and the server after a set amount of time.