Google announces 'Instant Apps' availability on the Play Store, improved developer console and new homepage for games

Instant Apps, which we’ve been hearing about since Google I/O 2016, are apps that are designed to run the instant you tap on them in the Play Store.

The Google Play Playtime event has kicked off in Berlin and San Francisco, and the first major announcement at the event is the fact that Instant Apps are now available in the Google Play Store.

Google Play

Google Play

Instant Apps, which we’ve been hearing about since Google I/O 2016, are apps that are designed to run the instant you tap on them in the Play Store. These apps will not be installed on your phone. Instead, they’re compartmentalised into small units, so they can be downloaded in parts and on demand. Essentially, only the part of the app that you need is accessible to you. This is especially useful for previewing apps on the Store.

Developers have had access to this feature for a few months now and a handful of apps are already available to users, including the NYTimes-Crossword app, Buzzfeed and others. When users finds an Instant App, they can simply hit the “Try it now” button to have the app fire up instantly.

Here's a full list of Instant Apps currently available on the Play Store.

Other changes to the store include a new home page for games and a new Editors’ Choice page — which is available in 17 countries. Google also highlighted its work with indie developers by pointing to the Indie Games Contest in Europe and other such activities.

Another aspect that Google touched upon was that of the quality of apps. Announced at I/O 2017, Android vitals was designed to give developers deeper insight into their app performance, giving them the opportunity to improve app performance. Pointing out that 65 percent of top developers are already using the feature, Google said that apps that do not perform consistently will be “disallowed”.

In more good news for app developers, Google Play will now let them target alpha and beta tests to specific countries, an improved device catalogue for testing compatibility, improvements to subscription management and more.

Lastly, Google introduced a Google Play Security Rewards Program that incentivises “security research into popular Android apps.” The data will be used to improve app security as well as to help other developers improve the security in their apps.

Google also published its State of Play report (PDF), which highlights the fact that Google Play can now boast of over two billion users in 190 countries, 82 billion downloaded apps and a surge in the number of paying customers.

So far, the Play Store’s biggest shortcomings have appeared to revolve around security and the quality of apps. These latest changes should go a long way towards improving both aspects.

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