29 May 2015
It's almost a year now since Google first introduced their Material Design visual guidelines which they encouraged Android app developers to apply to their respective programs. At first it was … Continue reading
29 May 2015 4:00pm GMT
Foursquare and Spotify have both just started receiving the long-awaited, much-anticipated Android Wear compatibility update; meaning smartwatch owners with the upgrade installed will now be able to check-into nearby locations, control music playback and much more directly from their wrist. Firstly, we're looking at Foursquare's Android Wear app, which enables its users to: read reviews […]
Come comment on this article: Foursquare and Spotify launch Android Wear apps
29 May 2015 3:32pm GMT
Google has another reason to celebrate and gather all Android fans at the Google I/O 2015 conference. Why, there are now 4,000 Android Wear apps ready for download from the … Continue reading
29 May 2015 3:20pm GMT
Yesterday was an exciting day for everything Android, as Google ran an almost 3-hour keynote at I/O 2015, full of exhilarating announcements, whether it be a new Android version, virtual reality or smart home enhancements. If you missed it and want to catch up on all the excitement, Google recorded the keynote for those back […]
Come comment on this article: Missed out on Google I/O 2015? Watch the keynote here!
29 May 2015 3:08pm GMT
To celebrate its Material Design's first birthday, the folks over at Google have compiled a list of eighteen of the best apps that take full advantage of the new design specification, including Evernote, Instacart, Tumblr and Weather Timeline. Hit the break for the full list of apps showcased in the Best-In-Class Android Design section of […]
Come comment on this article: Google publishes a list of the 18 best Material Design apps
29 May 2015 3:04pm GMT
We all know that Google Maps has finally reached Android Wear. It was spotted on an Android Wear smartphone, popping up after a recent phone app update. Even if people … Continue reading
29 May 2015 2:40pm GMT
Posted by Rich Fulcher, Material Design Team
When we first announced material design in June 2014, we shared an aspirational highlights reel that demonstrated key material principles for motion, interaction, and visual design across a range of hypothetical apps. "Hypothetical" being the key word here-back then, material design was just an idea. Sure, designers and engineers at Google were already working hard on applying material to Google's Android, iOS, and web apps, but the notion of a single design system that can work across platforms and brands was just an idea.
Fast-forward to today, and thousands of Android apps are adopting material design using the Android 5.0 SDK and AppCompat, while designers and developers begin to experiment with material design on iOS and the web as well. These apps are starting to realize that aspirational vision we set out with that sizzle reel.
Today, we're celebrating the amazing design work from Google Play developers and announcing the Material Design Showcase and Material Design Awards.
Of those 18 apps, we're recognizing 6 with a special award, which we handed out during Google I/O today and announced at the Material Now session hosted by Matias Duarte.
These 6 winners of our first ever Material Design Awards represent best-in-class applications of specific aspects of material design:
B&H Photo Video Audio Pro for Immersive Imagery
New York Times for Elegant Typography
Pocket for Adaptive Layouts
Pocket Casts for Seamless Browsing
Tumblr for Delightful Animation
Weather Timeline for Crafted Simplicity
So today, we have a new highlights reel, featuring these six wonderful and very real apps:
The individuals, teams, and companies behind these apps have made the promise of material design that much more of a reality.
But remember, this is only the beginning. We'll continue to recognize excellent material design in the future, evolving the awards as we evolve material design itself-together as a community.
If you're a designer or developer just starting out with material design, make sure to check out these 18 apps in the Material Design Showcase. They're a great source of inspiration, in addition to the awesome content on community sites like Dribbble. And if you're wondering how to start implementing some of these ideas, get started today with the Creating Apps with Material Design training docs. When you publish your next great app with material design, be sure to let us know on Google+ and Twitter!
29 May 2015 12:21am GMT
28 May 2015
Posted by Ian Lake, Developer Advocate
At Google I/O, we announced the rollout of Google Play services 7.5 that deliver new capabilities and optimizations to devices across the Android ecosystem. Google Play services ensures that you can build on the latest features from Google for your users, with the confidence that those services will work properly on Android 2.3 and higher devices.
You'll find the addition of Smart Lock for Passwords, Instance ID, new APIs for Google Cloud Messaging and Google Cast, as well as access to the Google Maps API on Android Wear devices.
Smart Lock for Passwords
Typing in a password, particularly on a mobile device, is never a pleasant experience. In many cases, your users have already logged in on the web or another device - shouldn't your login process know that? Smart Lock for Passwords builds on the Chrome Password Manager, adding a new
CredentialsApi API and UI on Android to retrieve saved credentials as part of your login process and saving new credentials for later use on other Android devices and any Chrome browser. Both password-based and Identity Provider (IDP, like Google Sign-In) credentials are supported. Keep your users logged in as they move between and to new devices; don't let them drop off, get frustrated, or end up with multiple accounts.
Learn more about Smart Lock for Passwords on the developer site.
Instance ID, Identity, and Authorization
Instance ID (IID) allows you to retrieve a unique identifier for every app instance, providing a mechanism to authenticate and authorize actions, even if your app does not have user registration and accounts. For example, this allows you to uniquely determine which app instance is sending a request from by including the Instance ID token. We've also made it easy to handle edge cases to ensure that you'll have valid Instance ID tokens.
Google Cloud Messaging
Google Cloud Messaging and InstanceID
Previously, GCM used a unique registration ID to refer to each device - while these IDs will continue to work, you can now utilize Instance ID tokens for GCM, gaining all of the advantages of InstanceID around handling error cases. Instance ID tokens are fully compatible with user notifications, allowing you to send notifications to all of a user's devices.
Topic based subscriptions
You'll also get another new feature for switching to InstanceID with GCM - topic based subscriptions! This makes it easy to publish a message to exactly the right audience and have GCM handle all the heavy lifting of sending to all subscribed instances. Your app can subscribe to multiple topics, allowing you to create any set of topics needed to best handle your app's messaging needs.
Receiving messages with GCM
Of course, just subscribing to receive messages is only half the battle: receiving GCM messages can now be done using a
GcmReceiver and a subclass of
GcmListenerService. These two classes make it easy to help your app reliably process messages, even when the device is awakened from deep sleep.
GCM Network Manager
Applications often need to sync data with their servers when new information is available. In GCM we refer to this model as "send to sync". We made this task much simpler with the introduction of the GCM Network Manager APIs, which handles many of the common implementation patterns such as waiting for network connectivity, device charging, network retries, and backoff.
GcmNetworkManager will schedule your background tasks when it is most appropriate and it can batch multiple tasks together for efficiency and battery savings, even utilizing the
JobScheduler APIs for best performance on Android 5.0+ devices. With support for both one-off tasks and periodic tasks, this API serves as a flexible framework for many different types of operations.
App Invites Beta
Now in beta, App Invites is new functionality for both Android and iOS that provides a standard UI for users to invite their contacts to install your app and optionally deep link specifically to selected content, using your users' device and Google-wide contacts as a source to drive referrals to increase the reach of your app.
With the ability to send invites via SMS or email, this provides a great mechanism to organically grow your user base, give your users a consistent way to share your app with exactly who would like it, and track how effective your invites are.
With App Invites, our goal is to take the hard work out of building user referral and onboarding flows, so that you can focus on your core app experience. Learn more about App Invites on the developer site!
Google Cast is a technology that lets you easily cast content from your mobile device or laptop right to your TV or speakers. With the new ability to use remote display on any Android, iOS, or Chrome app, better media support, better game support, we hope your Google Cast experience is better than ever!
Remote Display API
We are making it easy for mobile developers to bring graphically intensive apps or games to Google Cast receivers with Google Cast Remote Display APIs for Android and iOS. The new Remote Display API allows you to build a tailored, integrated second screen experience, without requiring an identical mirroring of content between mobile devices and the Google Cast device.
Learn more about Remote Display on the Google Cast Developers Site!
Autoplay and Queuing APIs
Playing single media items on Chromecast has been something
RemoteMediaPlayer (or CastCompanionLibrary's
VideoCastController) has been doing well for some time. With this release,
RemoteMediaPlayer is gaining a full media queue and support for autoplay for a seamless media playback experience. This ensures that all connected devices can easily maintain a synchronized queue of upcoming media items, opening up new possibilities of creating collaborative Google Cast media experiences.
Game Manager APIs for Google Cast
Bringing your game to Google Cast can make for a great multiplayer experience, using a mobile device as a game controller and the TV to display the action. To make it easier to send messages and state changes to all connected clients and the cast receiver, Google Play services 7.5 introduces the
GameManagerClient and the Game Manager APIs for Google Cast, available for Android, iOS, Chrome, and for receivers.
Watches are great devices for telling time. But what if in addition showing you when you are, watches could easily show you where you are? With the new release, you can now use the familiar Maps APIs on Android Wear devices:
This makes it possible to display fully interactive maps, as well as lite mode maps, directly on Android Wear devices. You'll be able to scroll and zoom interactive maps, show the user's current location, and more. Check out the full list of supported features in the developer documentation and check out all the details on the Geo Developers blog.
Google Fit is an open platform designed to make building fitness apps, whether that means retrieving sensor data like current location and speed, collecting and storing activity data, or automatically aggregating that data into a single view of the user's fitness data.
Being active can take many forms. While some activities are easily measured in terms of steps or distance, strength training is measured in terms of type, resistance and repetitions. This type of data can now be stored in Google Fit via new support for a large number of workout exercises, helping users build a complete view of their activity.
SDK is now available!
Google Play services 7.5 is now available: get started with updated SDK now!
To learn more about Google Play services and the APIs available to you through it, visit the Google APIs for Android site.
28 May 2015 7:27pm GMT
Posted by Ellie Powers, Product Manager, Google Play
With more than 50 billion app installs over the past year from users across 190 countries, Google Play continues to see incredible growth thanks to developers like you creating amazing experiences. Play is now reaching more than one billion users every month.
In February, we announced that we had paid out more than $7 billion to developers in the prior year alone. This week at Google I/O, we're introducing new and powerful tools to help you further grow your business, improve decision making based on smarter insights, and better engage your user base with more relevant content.
Acquire users from the Developer Console
Once you've built a great app, the next important step is to proactively find ways to promote it and grow a loyal user base. App install ads are one powerful way to do that. In the coming months, you'll be able to quickly and easily set up ad campaigns right from within the Google Play Developer Console for the first time.
All you need to do is set a total budget and the cost you're willing to pay per user and we'll scale your app promotion across our networks, including Google Search, AdMob, YouTube and the search ads we're piloting on Google Play. With this new feature, you will will be able to better find the customers that are most likely to install your app.
Actionable insights with the Acquisition and Conversion Funnel
Whether you pay to acquire users or not, you want to know where they're coming from. Through the Developer Console, you will soon be able to get a snapshot of how many users visit your Store listing, install your app, and make purchases. You'll see where your most valuable users come from - across organic and paid traffic - and better understand where to focus your efforts.
Optimize your Play store listing with experiments
Your Play Store listing is extremely important, as it's often the first touch point users have with your app. Starting today, we're making it easier to optimize this page with support for A/B tests. You can run experiments with different versions of text and graphics to see which are most effective in converting visits into installs on Google Play. In our pilot program, we were thrilled to see that some developers like Kongregate achieved double-digit improvements in their install rates so far.
Test your app automatically on real devices with Cloud Test Lab
With the large variety of Android form factors in the market, testing your app on real devices is a critical step to ensuring a positive user experience on any device. However, you may not have access to every device that your users do. So we're integrating the newly announced Cloud Test Lab into the Developer Console, which will allow you to automatically test your apps on hundreds of popular physical Android devices for free. We're going to be rolling out this pilot program gradually, so we'll welcome your feedback on it.
For each APK you upload to an alpha or beta channel, Google Play will execute fully automated testing of your app against physical devices matching your app targeting criteria and output a report with a detailed analysis of issues, including screenshots and logs. Google Cloud Test Lab will roll out to all developers later this year; you can sign-up to become a tester in the Developer Console now.
Build a data-driven games business with Player Analytics
Google Play Games has activated more than 180M new users in the past six months and continues to be the fastest growing mobile gaming platform in history.
Over the coming months, we're adding new reports, player segments, game metrics, and event types to Player Analytics to help you manage your games business. We're also bringing enhancements to our live operations tools that will enable dynamic content updates that make games feel more alive and engaging, gameplay to respond to changing player needs, and more fun, personalized user experiences. As the bar for success in mobile gaming continues to rise, we're continuing to evolve our tools to help you meet the soaring expectations of players.
Find great apps - developer pages and search results
There are several ways in which we are improving the discoverability of great apps and games on Google Play to help drive more engagement. Starting today, you can create a unique homepage on Google Play to promote your entire app catalog. With your own developer page, you are able to upload graphics, explain what your company is all about and pick a special app to feature. This gives you a single destination to promote all of your apps on Google Play.
We are also helping guide users with broad interests (e.g. "shopping") in a new search results experience.
The focus is on organizing results in an intuitive way that allows users to narrow their intent -- such as grouping shopping apps into coupons apps and fashion apps. By doing so, users will be able to better see the range of apps that satisfy their needs, while also increasing the chances of discovering new and innovative apps that you're building.
Family-friendly content in Google Play
Starting today, we're making it easier to find family-friendly content on Google Play through new discovery features. On the Apps & Games and Movies & TV homepages, users can now hit the "Family" star to see a curated set of options for specific age groups. In Play Books, tap the "Children's Books" star. These pages let you browse by age ranges to find content that's the best fit for the family. If you've already opted-in your apps to the Designed for Families program and they've met the requirements, they'll be included in the new family section so that parents can find suitable, trusted, high-quality apps and games more easily. Find out more about opting-in to the Designed for Families program.
Join us at Google I/O 2015
To learn more, tune-in live to "Developers connecting the world through Google Play" at 1pm PT / 4pm ET / 9pm GMT on May 29 on google.com/io.
If you're at I/O 2015, come along to our breakout sessions where we'll be talking about and demo'ing these new features. Find our sessions in the I/O 2015 schedule.
Check out developer.android.com/distribute over the coming weeks and months as we add I/O videos and more details about these and other new features.
28 May 2015 6:58pm GMT