I/O Summary: Development, Play Store, The Next Billion
VP of Engineering Jen Fitzpatrick began talking about what Google is doing to help “the next billion” come online. More and more people are getting their first smartphone, and for many people this first phone will be their first computer.
The majority of the next billion will be Android users and they “want to remove the barriers of smartphone adoption”. While there are huge displays of phones on sale, not all are able to run the latest and greatest apps for an affordable price.This is why Google has been working with hardware partners to bring high quality devices for affordable prices, such as Chromebooks and Android One. Sadly, they did not tease about a new Nexus like we wish they would have.
“We are taking many of our core products and making them far better in a world where speed size and connectivity are central concerns”, Jen said. Chrome, for example, is being optimized to load pages 5 times faster, use 80% fewer bytes, and have an 80mb reduction in memory use. They also are coming up with a superior network quality estimator, which adapts the fidelity of the webpage according to the speed of your current connection. Finally, they are bringing support to save pages for later and access them offline. With upcoming offline maps you won’t need to suck down expensive data or have data reliability either. Place search will work offline as well.
Now that mobile has evolved, Google is turning its attention to cross-platform developments with a renewed emphasis on Polymer. This push for cohesion takes the form of a consistent API chain across platforms, which aims to ease the burden on developers. Google’s aim is to help you find ways to develop, engage and earn through Google itself. They are attempting to do this by giving developers the tools to quickly develop across platforms. Today they are sharing the Android Studio v 1.3 Preview with faster grade build speeds and a new memory profiler, but the biggest feature is full editing support for C/C++. They also announced Polymer 1.0, with elements that make it easier to drop toolbars and services like maps. They had supported iOS libraries before, but are starting to bring them together cohesively via Cocoapods. We will cover these developments in-depth in the coming days.
They are also building a Cloud Test Lab to automate the testing of mobile apps. All you need to do is upload the app and Google will run it across top selling devices, and you’ll get in-depth details and crash reports, etc. Firebase also makes it easy and quick to build an app, but after development, the next step is to get users and keep them coming back.
Many developers want to start marketing their apps but do not have specialized teams for the task. Google will try and take care of this: you set their service up to pay for users and they will set up ad campaigns through Admob and other services. Through Google analytics you can then track the state of apps. Google claims that developers love the Google Play developer console, and they want to make it a better tool to make it easy to attract users. Now you can look at how many people are looking at your listing. and you can easily use collected data to make your listing even better. You can run experiments on your listing by testing different styles of graphics and text, and Google will do all the number crunching for you. You can also create your own Google Play homepage to explain what your company is all about. When it comes to earning, Google wants to integrate Analytics with Admob for smarter monetization.
Ellie Powers, Product Manager of Google Play then took the stage to talk about the Play Store. She stated that Google Play has delivered 50 billion app installs in the past 12 months alone, with 1 billion active users. This number is growing twice as quickly in many developing markets. With more than a billion users on Play, the ecosystem is extremely diverse, and Google claims that personalized listings doubles the likelihood that people will install an app. Google will finally make searching for apps smarter and more efficient. One of the ways Google is doing this is by grouping apps into more categories and organizing the results better (“fashion”, “coupons”, etc). Another focus for Google is finding the right content for families, which is why they are introducing the new family discovery experience on Google Play.
In this new Family feature of the Play Store, you can browse by age and the search will filter out apps that are not designed for families or do not have family-appropriate content. You can also browse through popular characters in case your children have an affinity for certain cartoon or movie protagonists or villains.
Finally, Google is teaming up with Udacity to introduce the Android Nanodegree, a 6 month course for 200 dollars each month where the entire core process of Android development is covered.
Are you excited for the new developments surrounding Android apps? Sound off below!