Besides new family-friendly and kid-friendly efforts on search and discovery in the Play Store, Google announced during its keynote today that Play Store search will be getting smarter overall.
Specifically, Google wants to more effectively surface apps when users search for vague or topical queries. The example given in the screenshot above shows the user searching for "shopping" apps. The Play Store then returns, of course, shopping apps. But those apps are then categorized intelligently into different sub-genres like Fashion and Coupons.
This may seem like a small tweak to most users, but - if Google is right - it will help introduce users to the right app when the user is not sure exactly what they're looking for, which is a good step in helping along discoverability in the Play Store as a whole.
We've all seen, probably many times, the common situation where you click a link on your Android device and you are then asked with which app you would like to open it. On one hand, this is a great feature; merely guessing could be very annoying and it is a sensible way to allow users to assign default apps. Sometimes, though, certain types of links should always open in a particular app without prompting the user.
A new addition to Android M, as discussed at I/O today, will allow that to happen. Developers can add an "autoVerify" attribute to their app manifest to tell the operating system that there is no need to prompt the user for certain types of links.
When it comes to getting users to your app, your Play Store listing counts for a lot. What users see (and read) when they reach your app's listing can make or break their decision to download or buy, so carefully crafting a good listing is important.
To that end, Google has announced that it will open up what amounts to A/B testing for Play Store listings, meaning developers can play with their listings by testing different screenshots, graphics, etc. to see what performs better and end up with the best possible listing.
To facilitate this, Google will add "Listing Experiments" to the Play Store developer console.
If you are sharing a link, you want whoever opens it to access the web service in whichever way makes the most sense on their device. On a desktop, you probably want to see it in a browser. On a mobile device, it often works better to open up that service's app. Google's URL shortening service, goog.gl, now offers that functionality. The same link will open either app or browser depending on the OS and whether an appropriate app is installed. Deep linking works on both Android and iOS.
This news is maybe most relevant to developers, but it should end up benefiting end users as well since you shouldn't have to deal with the confusion.
Writing great, high-quality software is hard work. No matter how well we know a platform or how long we spend on code, there are bound to be bugs. Memory leaks are among the most common problems, and they can be particularly disruptive on mobile devices. Square set out to make memory leaks easier to track down and fix with a new library called LeakCanary. It makes leak detection almost automatic and presents results in both logcat and an easy-to-read interface.
LeakCanary is designed to be as easy to use as possible. For most applications, it should only require a few additional lines in the app's build.gradle file, and one more line of code in your Application class.
Changelogs come in all shapes and sizes. Well, maybe there is just the one shape, but many different sizes. A new tag for 5.1.1_r3 turned up a few hours ago in AOSP and we've generated a list of changes the change for those who would like to know what's going on. As it turns out, this update sets a record for the smallest changelog ever, at just one lonely commit. On top of that, it's specifically for the Nexus 6 (Shamu).
The lone commit in this release appears to be a bug fix for devices with encryption enabled. The adspd process has been set up to run with the encryption lock screen instead of after.
Automatic wants to make your drive smarter. Or it wants to make you a smarter driver. Or it's only for smart drivers. Moving on, the company that makes its own proprietary Bluetooth dongle to offer real-time feedback and log your trips has announced a new phase for its car-centric project—it's opening an app store.
The Automatic App Gallery is a place for developers to drop apps that integrate with the Automatic adapter. Right now there are over twenty apps available, including software from the likes of Expensify, IFTTT, Jawbone UP, Nest, and Pebble.
Google I/O 2015 is drawing ever closer, and that means it's time to start lining things up for the big event. As tradition dictates, Google is working on a fresh update to the Google I/O app. We've now got a beta release of the app, which just started rolling out to a small group of people who signed up last year. The changes aren't too elaborate, but they do some visual refinement and a few adjustments to the feature set. There are even a couple tidbits to learn from a quick teardown.