In addition to its AI-powered Play Store updates, Google also introduced today several new security and privacy features for both app developers and Play Store users at its I/O developer conference. These include updates to its Play Integrity API, the introduction of a new beta version of the Play Console app, changes to the Data safety section on the Play Store, and more. Play Store users, meanwhile, can now receive prompts to update their apps that can be pushed out by developers or automatically when their app is crashing.
For instance, a developer can prompt users on certain app versions to update their app, if they know a particular problem has been solved with later releases or to move users to a more current version for another reason. This feature doesn’t require any prior integration work, Google notes, and will roll out with app bundles in the next few months. Users will also automatically be pushed to update their app if it’s crashing in the foreground and a more stable version is available, as Google recently announced.
Google’s Play Store pages that provide users with information about the data an app collects and shares will also be enhanced with a coming update, that was also announced in more detail last month.
The Play Store’s Data safety section, as it’s known, will introduce data deletion options and other policy requirements. The company says these could be used by developers to build trust with users. However, in time, they’ll become a Play Store rule, Google says, following Apple’s recent launch of an “account deletion” requirement for app developers beginning June 30, 2023.
Google Play developers have until December 7 to submit answers to new Data deletion questions in their app’s Data Safety form, or they can ask for an extension until May 31, 2024.
The Play Integrity API, launched last year, is also being improved. The API allows developers to check that user actions and server requests were coming from an unmodified version of their app, running on genuine Android devices powered by Google Play services. This can help protect against risk and fraud, like cheating or unauthorized access, as well as against attacks and abuse, Google explains.
Now Google says it’s rolling out a new beat integration option that gives API verdicts 10x faster and the developers can monitor the API’s status on a new dashboard at status.play.google.com.
In addition, Google will expand automatic integrity protection for offline apps and games for developers who want to use DRM protection without having to integrate an API in a backend server.
The Play Store Console App was given a makeover, too, which allows developers to personalize their homepage with the metrics they care about tracking. The new app, now in open beta, also integrated Inbox for keeping up with messages from Google Play. And a redesigned App content page makes outstanding tasks clearer.