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Google announces new beta testing and analytics tools for developers

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After a slew of consumer-centric announcements, Google’s I/O event saw it announce an update to its Play developer services that will being several brand new benefits to the members of the developer community. The new tools will make it easier for developers to test their apps or updates.

So how does it work? Well, Google Play has always offered developers the ability to run an open beta for their apps before the actual launch or even to test new updates, by enrolling living and breathing human beings into the beta tests. The company has now made it easier for developers to enlist users into their testing programs .

Thanks to the new update developers will be able to enroll users right from their Play Store landing pages. The option to enlist as a beta user, which comes under the heading of “Test new features before they are released and give feedback directly to the developer” is placed near the centre of the page, below the app recommendations.

Also, users enrolled in a beta test won’t need to go through the hassle of filling forms or sending emails to addresses as is the norm, instead private feedback can be provided directly to the developers through the store itself. Understandably, developers are saved the need of spending time setting up proper channels of communication as well.

Also, for obvious reasons ratings provided by users enrolled in the beta testing won’t change the overall rating of an application in the store.

Google has also added options that will significantly enhance a developers ability to analyze and respond to user reviews. Instead of providing developers with a list of reviews posted by users, Google will present a list that consists of automatically summarized reviews with the most important points highlighted. The new list will include reviews on stuff like stability and design, and how they influence the app’s overall ratings.

The service will also display a list of unique topics mentioned in your reviews and list will also then compare your metrics to those of similar apps.

And that’s not it. Intent on making Christmas come early for the developer community Google has also integrated its developer console much more closely with the Firebase Test Lab (erstwhile known as Cloud Test Lab). In case you are unaware of the service, it is basically Google’s service for testing apps on real devices in its data centers, providing it with a comprehensive and in-depth report.

Well, Firebase now offers developers a pre-app-launch report that will summarize all of the issues unearthed by a variety of automated tests performed in Google datacentres. Apart from displaying diagnostics and screenshots, the report will also display tips for fixing crashes.

Google has also launched a mobile app for the Play developer console, with the aim of allowing developers to check stats on the go — the app will also notify developers of the same. The capabilities of the app are somewhat limited at the moment and not every report is available, but we can expect Google to keep adding upon its capabilities.

Well, kudos to Google for the slew of updates it has brought to developers and we are sure that many of them are jumping up and down with joy even as we speak. Meanwhile, the update will also provide Google with a host of strategic benefits. After all, if the developers creating apps for its play store are happy and are able to work more efficiently, Google certainly emerges the winner. Towards this, the company has also put forward a set of guidelines with checklists for developers to optimize their apps for emerging markets, along with an in-depth guide with tips for expanding into these markets.


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