Google today is announcing strengthened protections for Android developers publishing apps to its Google Play store. The changes are a part of Google’s broader efforts at keeping low-quality and unsafe apps out of its app store and off consumers’ devices, which also recently included the launch of a new real-time app scanning feature to combat malicious apps. Today, the company says it will now require new Android developers with personal accounts to test their app with a minimum of 20 people for at least 2 weeks prior to publication. It additionally plans to increase its investment in the app review processes, warning of potential slowdowns in approvals for a small number of apps as these changes roll out.
According to Google, developers that use its testing tools have, on average, 3 times the amount of app installs and user engagement. That, of course, may not be a factor fully attributable to Google’s tools, but to the developers who would utilize such app testing tools before hitting publish. That is, they’re likely developing higher-quality applications. But now, app testing will no longer be optional for developers with newly created Play Console accounts, says Google.
Without providing an exact timeframe, Google says that new developers with individual accounts (as opposed to new Organization accounts) will be required to test apps with 20 people or more for 2 weeks or longer before publishing to production. The company believes this will help developers identify issues and bugs, and gain user feedback before their app’s launch. It says the requirement will arrive in the Play Console in the “coming days.”
Related to this, Google also plans to invest more heavily in its app review process, which, anecdotally, has long been considered to be less stringent than Apple’s with more reliance on automation over human review.