For most, the switch from Google’s Android Market to Google Play mostly meant the minor inconvenience of another user agreement. Users also found their “Market” shortcut missing from their home screen (if they had it there), and they need to replace it with the “Play Store”.
What does this mean to Android developers, though?
Google Play is Business As Usual for Android Developers and Users
Despite the inconvenience of accepting the new agreement and replacing your shortcuts, Google claims that the new changes should be seamless to everyone and everything should continue as usual.
Links aren’t broken, the Developer Console is in the same place, and the shopping experience is pretty much the same as before.
OK, if everything is identical, then why make the change?
We’ll have to see what Google introduces in the future. For now, we only need to do a few things.
New way to link to Android apps
While the old links still work (for now), Google is redirecting everything to their new naming scheme. For example, anything that begins with:
Now will begin with
You can easily find the other changes by following a link and seeing what it redirects to.
For example, these two links go to the exact same place
So what’s the difference? For now, nothing. In the future, however, the old links may stop working. For links you provide with bit.ly or on your web site, it may not be a big deal to leave as is.
However, I link to the app store from within my app for a few reasons:
- Rate the current app
- Upgrade to a paid version of the app
- Show all of my other apps
Within the app, it may be more important to start using the new linking scheme, so you don’t have to update all of your apps if the old links stop working. I suggest phasing in the new scheme, particularly when you are adding new links.
New badges for Google Play
Google also introduced new badges to use on your website to link to your app on Google Play. No big deal here, except I noticed a new clause: “When used alongside logos for other application marketplaces, the Google Play logo should be of equal or greater size”.
That phrase is appearing fairly commonly, which basically means we (or our web developers) have a few choices:
- Resize all of these randomly sized badges that app stores are putting out just to stay compliant
- Ignore the guidance and hope nobody notices
- Leave off the “less important” app store badges from the app’s home page, rather than showing them all.
It’s up to you, but I don’t think badges are really that big of a deal to most developers.
I suspect that most developers haven’t done much about the new market yet. For now, you really don’t need to make any changes or make a hurried update to your app.
I’ll be updating the Android Market Alternatives report to make sure the names are clear, and I’ll probably need to make references on this blog so readers aren’t confused in the future by seeing “Google’s Android Market” and “Google Play”. At some point, new developers will have never heard of the old name.
Since Google hasn’t really released anything new to us, or even opened any more doors for sales or income, you may be left wanting more.
If you’re looking for a new market to distribute your Android app into besides Google Play, be sure to check out the Android Market Alternatives report to get the info you need to pick a new app store to put your Android app into.