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Play Console overview
Developing and publishing your app is just the beginning. In 2020, Google launched a completely revised Play Console for better managing and deploying apps. The new Play Console introduced a major UX facelift, improved team management, a modern interface using Google Material design language, and a new menu structure.
The Play Console is grouped into several main areas by function: Release, Grow, Quality, Monetize and Policy. In this chapter, you’ll get an overview of the entire Play Console. You’ll deep dive into some of these sections in order to get your app published and distributed.
Google Play Console gives you the power to scale with access to billions of users. It also gives you the tools to acquire them, like the ability to test the text and graphics of your store listing to drive more installs.
The Play Console gives you the power to iterate. Testing tools and pre-launch reports help you identify issues before they affect your users so you can release with confidence. It lets your users beta test new features and then roll them out in stages to ensure a safe launch.
The Play Console provides insights about your app, such as metrics, and what your users are saying through reviews and ratings.
Grow contains everything you need to supercharge your user acquisitions, from pre-registration to store listing experiments. It also features acquisition reporting.
Google designed the Quality section for QAs and team leads. It contains all the signals and features that tell you how your app performs in the wild, including both its technical performance with Android vitals and how people feel about it through ratings and reviews.
Monetize brings together Play Console setup, reporting, and optimization tools to help you grow your business through in-app purchases and subscriptions.
Policy helps you release confidently on Google Play. The reasons you provide for various app permissions matter and Google has become increasingly strict about Policy reviews. For more information about Google Policy, see https://play.google.com/console/about/policystatus/.
Creating your Google Play Store listing
In the previous chapter, you created a release APK suitable for distribution. Now it’s time to review the steps to create a Google Play Store listing so you can distribute your app.
Google Play Console signup
First, sign up for a Google Play Console account. The Google Play Console is your gateway to managing and publishing your apps on the Google Play Store.
The main console
Once you finish with signup, you’ll move to the main console.
Creating your first app
Click Create app on the main console screen.
Main store listing
Click Set up your store listing to view the sub-tasks there. App name is already complete. Fill out the short and full description fields.
Store graphic assets
Your app needs the following graphic assets:
Release collects all Google’s tools to upload and distribute your apps, review your testing and production tracks and check how your latest updates perform.
The Releases overview shows you an up-to-date snapshot of your testing and production tracks to quickly see which versions are being tested, by how many users and in which countries.
Private vs public apps
There are two main types of mobile apps, regardless of the platform. The most common type is public apps, which are generally available to everyone. Developers typically distribute these through an app store, such as Google Play or Amazon Appstore.
Before you publish your app to the world, it’s important to test it with a small group of users. Testing not only catches bugs but also helps with scaling and rolling out updates faster.
Internal test track
Releasing your app
Now that you are familiar with the different release types, it’s time to release your app! You’ll create an internal release. Click Select testers to go to the Internal testing page. For now, create a quick email list in this section with a list of testers who will test your first app release. If you don’t have any testers, list your email address so you can deploy builds to your device through the Play Store. You also have the option to provide a feedback URL or email address for testers to provide feedback.
Exploring the internal test track
Installing an internal test track build
One last, slightly confusing trick
In the Play Console menu, navigate to Release-> Setup -> Internal app sharing. Here you will find a page dedicated to letting you share your app bundle with testers simply using a link. Or, so it would seem. :]
In this chapter you covered a lot, but it’s only scratching the surface of Android app distribution. In summary you covered:
Where to go from here?
In these last couple of chapters, you’ve learned how to deploy your app to the Play Store. You’ve also gotten a taste for how much more you can do beyond just the initial publication and distribution of your app. To explore these topics and much more in greater depth, check out the Android App Distribution book from raywenderlich.com.