At Google I/O this year, Google has preempted Apple with their announcements about Android M. While it's been rumored for some time now that iOS 9 will hone in on stability, Google opened their developer conference talking about their focus on core user experience and product excellence.

Looking at what Google unveiled, they definitely stayed true to their word. There were no significant feature announcements for Android. At the same time, there's a lot to be happy about if you're in the trenches. Google broke their developer-specific announcements into three categories: Develop, Engage, and Earn. Interestingly enough, a number of updates are about iOS as much as they are about Android. I won't cover everything discussed, instead I'll highlight what we're most excited about on Android (and iOS). Consider this post your cheat sheet for the three-hour keynote.

Google Play Experiments #

One of the most exciting updates is a feature called Google Play Store Listing Experiments. While Apple recently started giving developers basic analytics about their App Store listing, this function goes much further. Android developers can now A/B test different elements of their listing and see which drives more downloads. From their initial results, Google said developers saw double-digit conversion increases with successful experiments. There's also now a great way to promote all your apps on the Google Play Store, developer pages. For example, check out Google's developer page

Cloud Test Lab #

With their previous acquisition of Appurify, Google wants to try to take some of the pain out of testing against the plethora of Android devices. Their "Cloud Test Lab" will help automate testing your app against multiple devices. After uploading an app, it will run tests across the top 20 Android devices. A report then gets generated along with videos and crash logs

Android Permissions Become More like iOS #

Until now, the Android permission model has been to get full acceptance of all permissions from a user upfront. This meant that access had to be granted without knowing how an app might use that permission. It's one of the reasons Android has had issues with malware and other privacy problems. With Android M, Google is moving to a similar model of iOS. Permission requests will now get prompted as a feature is about to be used. It's a better model for Android users but more complex for developers

CocoaPods Default Distribution for Google SDKs on iOS #

Google has always treated their apps as first-class citizens on iOS. They're equally pushing their development tools across iOS as well. As of yesterday, they're officially using CocoaPods as the default distribution mechanism for the Google SDKs on iOS

App Indexing #

App Indexing helps bring users back to your app. When someone has your app installed and searches on Google, App Indexing will show your app in relevant search results. It then deep links back to that relevant content. While previously available for Chrome and Android, Google's now piloting App Indexing for iOS apps

Other Resources #

Google has a number of useful blog posts to read, but most of the updates above can be referenced in the Google I/O keynote starting at 2 hours and 16 minutes. - You want a mobile revolution

May 29, 2015
Written By:

Ken Yarmosh

Ken Yarmosh is the Founder & CEO of Savvy Apps. He's the creator of more than 20 featured apps, including an Editor's Choice selection and Starbucks Pick of the Week. An O'Reilly author, Ken regularly speaks about application design & development, as well as the future of technology at outlets ranging from Bloomberg TV to Google.