The Google Play Console hasn't always been the most robust tool for publishing apps, but it's getting better and solving some of the problems developers have experienced over the years. The latest update brings two long-awaited enhancements that should make the publishing experience easier and a bit more intuitive.
The first big change comes in the form of a new publishing overview page that shows where different versions of an app are in the review process, and gives a clear view of what will be displayed on the Play Store when an app is published. This will make it easier to see approval progress at a glance and coordinate releases with other members of an organization.
Google Play is also launching a new Managed Publishing feature that will replace Timed Publishing, aimed at giving developers an easier and more predictable interface for scheduling releases.
Released in 2015, Timed Publishing gave developers a way to post their updates on a specific time and day, but it was awkward to use with new apps because they would have to go through a couple unintuitive steps before scheduling, and it has become less reliable after Google Play introduced its review process.
Managed Publishing will split your updates into a list that's ready to be published and another that's still under review. Developers can now publish individual updates separately without waiting for approvals on every update, which was a limiting issue in Timed Publishing.
The whole system should allow developers to upload new versions and publish them at a precise time. This won't remove the need to upload new versions well ahead of time, but it enables developers to eliminate the risk that the approval process causes updates to be published earlier or later than intended.