Besides improvements in surfacing family-friendly content, Google’s Play Store is getting a couple updates that developers in particular should be happy about, which we learned about today at the company’s I/O conference.
First up are beautified landing pages suited for developers with multiple apps on the Play Store. Soon the landing pages will feature a large cover photo, custom profile icon, as well as a short blurb about the developer like what kind of apps they make. We don’t know much more about the rollout other than that these new pages should start showing up soon. Below are before and after photos (couldn’t find a before photo of Google’s listing page, unfortunately) of the change.
Next up is smarter categorization and surfacing of apps in Play Store search. Google promises that when users search with generic terms like “shopping,” as in the example below, that not only will actual relevant apps be returned, but they will also be organized even further by sub-genres like Coupons and Food. This should be rolling out soon as well, but we don’t have a hard date.
Discoverability is, of course, quite important for developers considering building apps on any platform, and this should help Google argue its case a little better. Especially with Google testing out search ads in the Play Store, the company doesn’t want developers getting the impression that they either have to pay or suck it up and deal with poor discoverability.
Finally, starting today developers will have the ability to A/B test their listings in the Play Store to see which title, screenshots, and description result in the most downloads. Choosing the wrong screenshots to demonstrate what your app does, for example, can potentially mean the difference between success and failure, which is why this will surely be a welcome addition. Developers will have to go elsewhere to A/B test anything inside their apps, though.
Google did, however, release a free service called Cloud Test Lab which gives developers the ability to test their new app across 20 different top Android devices from across the world through the cloud. For most developers who only have maybe one or two Android devices in their physical possession, Cloud Test Lab provides the ability to get crash reports and see what their app will look like running across a wide range of different units.
A/B testing of listings should start appearing for developers as “Listing Experiments” in the Play Store developer console today.