Google Upgrades Android Developer Console

Google has revamped its Google Play Developer Console, featuring changes to publishing flow, user feedback, language support and more granular statistics.

Google discussed the changes on its developer blog. The post was written by Eva-Lotta Lamm, Riccardo Govoni, and Ellie Powers of the Google Play team. The first thing developers will notice is an overhauled console UI. It features a lot of whitespace and streamlined layout. Google says it loads more quickly than the previous console, "even if you have a lot of apps."

More important to developers will be the improved analytics. Google points to new statistics about user ratings as an example: ratings can now be seen over time, as a cumulative average rating since an app's release, or new user ratings for a particular day.

In addition, the ratings for an app can be broken down a variety of ways, including by carrier, Android OS version, device, app version, language and country. "For example, after optimizing your app for tablets, you could track your ratings on popular tablets," Google explains.

The console also simplifies and clarifies the workflow, allowing developers to start with an APK (the application package itself) or an app name, "and you can save before you have all of the information," the blog states. The latest console also makes it possible to see differences between various app versions, allowing developers to spot unintentional -- and possibly unwanted -- changes made to apps before a new version is posted.

Apps can now be published in 49 languages, and users will get automatic translations of the listing in their native language, with no more work on the developers' part. Currently, this functionality is only available on the Web version of the Google Play store, but Google promises that it's coming soon for devices.

The console is still in beta, and some stuff is missing: multiple APK support, APK Expansion Files and announcements, says Google. But a workaround is available: Click "Switch back" in the header to get the old version, with the additional APK abilities.

Immediate feedback to the changes was mostly positive. One developer, Walmyr Carvalho, said the updated console is "Simple, clean and very useful, I like it."

Another, Steve Garon, said "Been using it for a while now and it's definitely much better than the old one!"

Several pointed out that one bit of functionality that hasn't been implemented is a way for developers to reply to user reviews. Google's Trevor Johns responded that they're working on it: "That's still in limited access, though we're working to expand the number of people who can use it."

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.