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Google Updates Android Market

Google knows that the success of its Android mobile OS will rise or fall with the success of the applications being built for it. And the success of those apps will be at least partly dependent on the ability of users and developers to use the Android Market.

That part of the equation has been fraught with problems for Google, leading to a plethora of complaints from consumers and developers alike. Google has tried to respond to those complaints with a host of changes to Android Market.

Earlier this month Google's Tim Bray listed six improvements to the Market within the last six months:

  1. Error reporting. This allows users to send bug reports to developers with one push of a button, helping developers find problems and release fixes more quickly.

  2. User comments. The publisher site now includes user comments for more immediate feedback.

  3. A licensing server. An app can now query an Android licensing server at runtime to determine licensing status for the current user, blocking access if the app has been pirated.

  4. Broadening access for developers and consumers. Google has increased the countries apps can be bought from and sold to: As of the end of September, they can be bought in 32 nations and sold in 29.

  5. A "rolling updates" feature. This is a "release notes" section, allowing developers to provide public notification of changes in upgraded versions.

  6. Draft uploading. This streamlines the app updating process, allowing numerous features of an app to be updated with a single click.

Bray mentioned that more Market updates will be coming. To prepare for some of those future releases, Bray also urged developers that haven't updated their <uses-feature> settings to do so quickly; if not done, the app may disappear on certain Droid phones. "We think the set of apps that will have this problem will be small, if only since most successful apps are updated regularly," Bray stated.

Google's stumbles with the Android Market are giving openings to competing app markets, including Verizon and a rumored Amazon store.

Keith Ward is a writer and editor for 1105 Media.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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