Last weekend, a huge turmoil swept the root-enthusiast Android community as it was discovered then confirmed that the Netflix app was being blocked from showing up in search results on the Play Store for rooted devices. At the time, Netflix said it was using Widevine to block unsupported devices, but that made no sense to us: the app was still functional if it was sideloaded, it was only not showing up as compatible in the Play Store. So what sorcery was Netflix really using?! Turns out it's a new function of the Google Play Console.
As part of the updates announced for the Play Console at I/O 2017, Google mentions a new Device Catalog section under Release management that lets developers choose with intricate granularity which devices their app supports on the Play Store. Read More
Promo codes aren't new in the Play Store. Google has been using them for a while to redeem apps (like the free family apps it offered for a few weeks) and other types of media. However, the option for developers to generate their own codes and issue them to their users was only added a few days ago.
Google's documentation details how developers can create promotions, what they need to do to set them up in their apps, and how users can redeem them. Here is what the process looks like in the Developer Console and on the user's end. Read More
Running a good business requires an intimate knowledge of anything and everything that affects its operation. This means keeping track of numbers, reports, and any other data that can possibly be accumulated. Distributing apps on the Play Store is no different. Developers need to know if users are leaving bad reviews, if their apps are crashing, or if the install numbers suddenly rise. While the Play Store does tracks these things and more, many companies have more specific needs. Google is now allowing developers to export this data so it can be analyzed and re-used in many different ways.
Data is available in an assortment of reports for subjects ranging from financial details to crash records. Read More
For an app developer, there's nothing worse than finding out your latest update is catastrophically flawed and blowing up for your users. This is the reason Google introduced the alpha and beta channels, and then added staged rollouts. These features give developers a way to steadily release new versions into the wild, discover their bugs, and fix them before a wide release. However, all of this still relies on treating some of your users as guinea pigs. If you'd like to keep them around, it's best to minimize the fallout of a bad release as soon as it's discovered. To make things a little easier, Google has added a new button to the Developer Console that stops a staged rollout immediately. Read More
Excitement over products like the Ouya, nVidia's Shield line, and even numerous gamepads proves that gaming on Android has entered the mainstream. Developers have been jumping at the opportunity to build games that work across many of the different operating systems; and thanks to the Cross-Platform SDK, they're able to integrate most of the Play Games services into their products on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Until now, this SDK has lagged behind the SDKs for Android and iOS on one specific feature: real-time multiplayer support. As of today, Google is rectifying this oversight and making a number of other improvements with updates to the Play Games SDKs, along with some new features in the Google Play Developer Console. Read More
The Google Play Developer Console has undergone some pretty major changes over the years, including a complete overhaul 2 years ago. While the improvements continue to make for a more powerful and usable tool, some developers still find areas where it could be better. Google's engineers don't have time to build everything for everybody, but a new version of the Google Play Developer API makes it possible to build quite a few things for yourself. The new API allows developers to programmatically upload apks and modify almost every detail about your store listings.
The new web API allows developers to build scripts or applications to automate deployment and update product listings quickly and without directly working with the Developer Console. Read More