Two years ago, Google had launched the beta testing feature for its developers in hopes that it might help improve the quality of apps for its platforms and also their reception. That was all well and good, but joining these betas was kind of a chore as users had to become part of a Google+ community or Google Group.

There’s good news now for testers, and yet another bad news in a string of such updates for Google Plus. With Google trying to give a silent death to Google Plus, the web giant has now announced that it will allow developers to setup beta testing communities without the requirement of a Google+ sign up. Yet another nail on that coffin.

The Google Developer Console currently allows users to release their apps in the PlayStore as alpha or beta builds to select users so that they can collect bug reports and such without negatively impacting their apps’ reputation. Commenting and rating these apps is not permitted however.

According to the blog posts, Google is now allowing developers two new methods to more effectively manage their beta tests, and enable users to join easily: Open beta and Closed beta.

Whilst open beta testing is like releasing the application to the masses and collecting feedbacks from them, closed beta allows developers to choose whom they want in their programme by adding them via their email addresses or uploading a .csv file. The open beta feature allows developers to even set limits for the maximum number of users participating if they choose to. Here’s what Ellie Powers, Product Manager of Google Play wrote in the blog explaining the new developments:

  • Open beta – Use an open beta when you want any user who has the link to be able to join your beta with just one click. One of the advantages of an open beta is that it allows you to scale to a large number of testers. However, you can also limit the maximum number of users who can join.
  • Closed beta using email addresses – If you want to restrict which users can access your beta, you have a new option: you can now set up a closed beta using lists of individual email addresses which you can add individually or upload as a .csv file. These users will be able to join your beta via a one-click opt-in link.

Another important announcement by the web giant was that Google also made a small change to how developers can price their apps today. The minimum price for apps and in-app products in India is now as low as Rs. 10.

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