Around this time last year, Google began imposing a more strenuous review process on new apps and updates submitted to the Play Store. For many developers, this was only a minor inconvenience that slowed down publishing by a few hours or days. However, in the months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a growing number of people have detailed delays of several weeks for new apps and even simple bug fixes.
Like all conferences this year, Firebase Summit 2020 is kicking off today with an entirely virtual experience. There are technical sessions and demos, codelabs, live Q&A events, and of course, a keynote. If you rely on Firebase, you'll probably be happy to hear about some of the new tools and improvements that will make your development time a bit more efficient.
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.
Android Studio is the recommended development environment for creating Android applications, and it receives frequent updates to take advantage of new functionality in Android and Google Play Services. Android Studio 4.1 entered beta alongside the release of the first Android 11 beta, and now it's ready for all developers to use.
Google's rumored crackdown on in-app purchases has just been formally announced. The company is planning to step up enforcement of its existing rules regarding purchases made inside apps on the Play Store. However, developers don't have to rush to accommodate these changes immediately; the company is granting a one year reprieve in light of current events before it begins policing things more intently.
Though stable Android 11 builds haven't yet arrived for the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro — they're still on Android 11 DP4 — OnePlus has already gone ahead and published the Android 11 kernel source. This means that developers can get a small head start on custom software like ROMs and recoveries.
Google is reportedly gearing up for a crackdown on in-app purchases for apps distributed via the Play Store. Google has long required that developers give the company a cut of in-app purchases, but it hasn't strictly enforced that rule for big names like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify, who all allow for billing and purchases in their apps separately from Google's required system. According to Bloomberg, the day of reckoning is coming, and Google will reportedly update its guidelines as soon as next week to further clarify the billing requirement ahead of more aggressive enforcement.
Google has taken down the Assistant-integrated AutoVoice Action again, for the second time in a year. This time, the company claims the action "promotes content that advocates hate or violence or promotes discrimination," apparently because someone in Germany stringed together a clearly custom command that made the Assistant spout off some hate speech.
Android 11 introduced a nifty new interface for controlling media playback that lives among the quick settings tiles rather than the notifications. In it, there's also a button that allows you to choose the sound output (which has actually been around since Android 10). At the moment, it's only populated by your phone's speakers and bluetooth sources, even though it seems like adding Chromecast-enabled devices would be a no-brainer. It looks like Google thought the same, but it will have to be implemented by every single media app out there.
Fans of Google's so-called Material Design should take note of today's news. AP alum Liam Spradlin is resuscitating Google's Material blog as its new Editor. Today alone, eight new posts were published (more than went up in the last two years), covering subjects from color and typography to shape and transitions, written in terms both developers and design enthusiasts can appreciate and use — ideally, to help make better apps.