Google Play Store v8.9 Hints at Publicly Viewable Edit History in Reviews, Exchanging App Updates with Nearby Devices, and More
Google Play Store v8.9 is rolling out to Android devices, and on the surface, there aren’t any major changes. However, we did an APK teardown of the app and found quite a few strings related to new features which haven’t gone live yet, including new app review histories, a peer-to-peer app update sharing mechanism for devices, “split-install” modular APKs, and more. So without any further ado, let’s dive into it.
Publicly viewable edit history for reviews
<string name="edit_history_label">Edit History</string>\n<string name="edited_review_tag">"· Edited"</string\n<string name="public_reviews_edit_history_message">Edit history is public to anyone who can see this review.</string>\n<string name="review_edit_history_choice">View edit history</string>\n<string name="review_edit_history_timestamp">%1$s at %2$s</string>
App reviews published to the Google Play Store have always been public. However, edit histories aren’t publicly available — as of right now, they can only be viewed by the user who wrote the review and the app’s developer. A few months ago, the Play Store began differentiating edited reviews from non-edited ones by including an “edited” sign, and new strings show that review edit history will soon be publicly viewable by everyone.
Why does this matter? Users writing reviews on the Play Store often edit them after the developer of the app responds. Other users can’t view past versions of a user’s review at the moment, but once they’re able to, they’ll be able to see what the user had originally written. A user’s opinion of an app can often change over time, and publicly viewable edit histories might be helpful in this regard.
On the other hand, they might also pose a privacy risk. Users can edit an app review to remove any personally identifiable information, but if the edit history is publicly viewable, it’ll mean that the information will remain visible to an extent.
Exchanging app updates with nearby devices
In the future, Play Store users will be able to share app updates with nearby devices. It’s a form of peer-to-peer file sharing, and potentially useful in regions where data connectivity isn’t optimal. Users will be able to download app updates faster by simply exchanging them between devices.
Unfortunately, the strings don’t explain how the feature will work on a technical level.
<string name="mitosis_runtime_notification_message">Exchanging app updates with nearby devices.</string>\n<string name="mitosis_runtime_notification_title">Checking for app updates</string>
<string name="split_install_confirmation_body_text">%1$s is requesting to download an additional module. This might incur extra data usage charges.</string>\n<string name="split_install_confirmation_details_text">Download size: %1$s</string>\n<string name="split_install_confirmation_negative_button_text">Cancel</string>\n<string name="split_install_confirmation_positive_button_text">Download</string>\n<string name="split_install_confirmation_title_text">Download new module for %1$s</string>\n<string name="split_install_confirmation_title_text">Download new module for %1$s</string>\n<string name="split_install_splash_screen_progress_message_text">Updating %1$s...</string>
These strings show that modular apps may come soon to the Play Store. Modular apps, which are related to Android Instant Apps, support “split installs” consisting of partial versions of the app. Some modular apps might prompt a user to download additional modules, at which point the user will have the choice of downloading them or not.
Modular apps haven’t gone live yet, and there aren’t any hints at an official launch time frame either.
More information about malware
<string name="package_malware_learn_more">Learn more</string>
Google’s Play Protect scans apps for malware, and alerts users with a warning if it finds any. Currently, users can choose to ignore the message by tapping “install anyway”, and a new string shows that Google will start presenting a “Learn more” option. It’ll presumably link to more information about the detected malware.
Let us know in the comments if you spot anything new, and follow our APK Teardown tag for more articles like this!