When we’re talking about smartphones and the amount of mobile data or connectivity options it gives us access to, it certainly is limited sometimes. Thus, Google Play is now investing more into helping developers reduce app sizes and display the correct download(or update) size to users.
Google Play is introducing a new ‘Delta’ algorithm update, according to which only changes(i.e deltas) for the designated APKs are downloaded and then merged with the existing parts of the app. This means that you will now only download a small part of the app that needs to updated, instead of the whole APK. This algorithm update also reduces the size of the updates.
This helps reduce the size of updates, making it less of a burden on users to get an updated app experience. And in a country like India, where 3G connectivity and Wi-Fi services are destitute, this will prove to be a boon for us.
Taking a peek at the reduction in app sizes, the official blogpost mentions two patch updates for Google Chrome for Android. It shows that a major 22.8MB app update, from M46 to M47 has now been shrunk down to 12.9MB. While a 15.3 MB(bigger than the current major update size) minor update of the M47 build has now been shrunk to a meager 3.6MB, using the new ‘Bsdiff’ delta algorithm.
It also reports that the new update is now live for most(approx. 98%) application on the Google Play Store.
The expanded delta and compression algorithms will now also allow developers to include large files upto 2GB in size within your app or game. This results in a reduction of major install sizes by 12 per cent, and updates by 65 per cent on average. Alongside reduction in app size, Google Play now also displays the actual size of the download or update in the description. It is now on your discretion, if you want to download the update or not.
Tips for developers
In addition to reporting the benefits for users, the blogpost also sheds light on some tips and tricks for developers who want to tweak their app and use native uncompressed APIs.
- Optimize for right size measurements: The developers should keep in mind the users while developing their app, because users care about download size and disk space the app engages.
- Reduce APK size: The developers should remove unnecessary resources, like unused resources and code to further reduce the size of their APK.
- Optimize parts of the app: The developers can make parts of their apps smaller by using more efficient file formats, like WebP instead of JPEG or using Proguard.