Posted by Ranjith Jayaram, Product Manager
If you’re looking to drive usage and grow a mobile app, you’re probably testing out referrals, recommendations, and the user onboarding experience. These product flows are resource-intensive to design, build, and optimize. What if you could use a set of tools that help your users share your app, and get more of the right people to download and use your app? What if you could craft a more personalized onboarding experience in your new user’s journey?
Now in beta, App Invites let mobile app developers increase their reach, deep link new users to custom experiences, and tap into your users’ device and Google-wide contacts as a source to drive referrals. This is available for both iOS and Android app developers. We’re launching with UrbanSitter, Yummly, The CW, Coinbase and Picsart apps.
Here’s what some of our early partners had to say:
App Invites is available on both Android and iOS. Here’s what’s in the beta toolkit:
With App Invites, our goal is to take the hard work out of building user referral and onboarding flows and build a toolkit that works across platforms, so that you can focus on your core app experience. Visit https://developers.google.com/app-invites/?utm_campaign=app-invites-529&utm_source=gdbc&utm_medium=blog to get started To learn about opportunities to re-engage app users using goo.gl deep links, check out this post.
Posted by Taylor Savage, Product Manager, Polymer
Today we released the 1.0 version of the Polymer library. Polymer is a new way of thinking about building web applications - a sugaring layer on top of Web Components, making it easy for you to create interoperable custom elements. These elements can then be put together to create app-like immersive experiences on the web.
Since the “Developer Preview” release, we’ve re-written the library from the ground up, focusing on cross-browser performance while keeping the developer-friendly ergonomics. The new library is about 3x faster on Chrome, 4x faster on Safari, and a third less code than in developer preview. And it’s ready to be used in production applications.
We’ve updated the polymer-project.org site with documentation for the 1.0 release. Major new and updated features include:
It’s easier than ever to create high-quality, production-ready elements using Polymer, to use in your app or share with other developers.
Check out the many brand-new element product lines built by the Polymer team with the Polymer elements catalog. There you can browse for elements to help create or add features to your web app - whether you need buttons or layouts, Google maps or push notifications. For just about any problem you might need to solve on the web, there’s an element for that.
Looking for a fast and easy way to get started building a production-ready web application using Polymer? Use the Polymer starter kit. Packed with the latest elements, ready-to-use boilerplate, and an end-to-end toolchain to use from development through production deployment, the starter kit works out of the box so you can focus on adding features right away.
We’re incredibly excited about this release, and can’t wait to see what you’ll build!
Posted by Adam Dawes, Product Manager
Identity is an important building block to any app. Even if it’s not top of mind when you’re building out new features, authentication is critical to get right. We realize developers want their users to have an efficient and secure experience with their products rather than dealing with forgotten passwords that prevent app usage. The Google Identity Platform is a suite of developer tools that cuts friction out of every step of getting people signed in: Smart Lock for Passwords, Google Sign-in, and Identity Toolkit.
Smart Lock is a password manager built into your Google account. It can automatically sign you into an Android app, and autofills credentials on websites viewed with Chrome. It removes the need to remember and type in password credentials.
We're now extending Smart Lock as an API to app developers and publishers, starting with Android. Android developers can programmatically save and retrieve credentials, and automatically sign their users in across devices and websites in Chrome. Companies like Eventbrite, Orbitz, Netflix, Instacart, the New York Times, and soon — LinkedIn, are using Smart Lock for Passwords to get people automatically signed-in across their properties.
How does Smart Lock for Passwords work for your app or site? It recognizes and pre-fills login credentials across devices. When a user signs into or signs-up on your property, they’ll see a Smart Lock prompt to save their password for future use. If they accept, they’ll never have to enter a password again on your Android app or website on Chrome. In turn, this helps your app or site boost sign-up and sign-in rates for new and existing users.
This also means when your users buy and activate new devices, they can easily download and get logged right back into your app using the proper account. You don’t have to spend resources in re-acquiring them again, or encounter forgotten passwords along the way.
Here’s how early partners are using Smart Lock for Passwords, which you can see rolling out in their Android apps and websites on Chrome.
Later on this year, we’re planning to offer new features including support for sync passphrases and Smart Lock for Passwords API support on other platforms. Stay tuned!
Google Sign-in is the gateway to securely connecting Google’s users and services to your app or site. It reduces the burden of login for your users, by enabling them to sign in with their Google account—the same account they already use with Gmail, Play, Google+, and other Google services. The New York Times was able attribute a 20% lift in new registered user signups to the implementation of Google Sign-In, in the months immediately following launch.
Identity Toolkit gives you a robust, more secure authentication system that helps you do sign-in the right way, and can grow with your app. The toolkit supports email and password authentication as well as major identity providers including Google and Facebook. Even non-technical developers can add future sign-in options and migrate existing users with simple configuration changes. Getting started with Identity Toolkit lets you easily scale your auth system as you grow across platforms.
We hope that the Google Identity Platform makes it easy for your users to sign in, so that you can deliver them more personalized, engaging experiences. To view documentation, visit developers.google.com/identity
Posted by Jonathan Beri, Product Manager
Today, we’re announcing that CocoaPods will be the primary channel to acquire Google SDKs for iOS. CocoaPods is a popular, free dependency manager for iOS that significantly simplifies the process of importing libraries and frameworks into Xcode. And it will help you manage your dependencies between our various libraries.
While there was a small but growing number of official Google Pods, as well as a few Pods written by other iOS developers, it was often difficult for developer to find the right SDK. With today’s announcement, some of our key libraries, like Google Cloud Messaging and the Google Maps SDK for iOS can now be found on the public CocoaPods service. Going forward, new iOS SDKs will be packaged and documented as Pods and published on cocoapods.org. You can find the full list of Google Pods and all supporting documentation at developer.google.com/ios/cocoapods.
If you haven't used CocoaPods yet, now is a great time to give it a try. Add GoogleAnalytics to a Podfile to start counting new users. Or pod install your way to adding AdMob ads in your app. And check out pod try, a CocoaPods plugin that allows you to quickly launch our demo projects.
For more iOS developer protips and to learn more about Google’s iOS SDKs, please check out the Route 85 video series from Todd Kerpelman. We look forward to all the great Google-powered iOS apps you will create!
Posted by Jason Titus, Senior Director of Engineering
This morning, we kicked off our 8th annual Google I/O conference, joined by 5,600 developers at Moscone Center, 530 I/O Extended communities around the world, and millions via the I/O Live stream. This year’s event is focused on delivering incredible experiences on mobile and helping developers build successful businesses through these key themes: Develop, Engage, and Earn.
During the keynote, we had a number of announcements that covered the evolution of the mobile platform, tools for Android, iOS, and Web developers, and the push towards more immersive mobile experiences with VR. Here’s a closer look at the news:
Posted by Nathan Camarillo and David Allison, Google Cast Product Managers
Google Cast makes it easy for developers to extend their mobile experiences to bigger screens and speakers. Since the launch of Chromecast, the first Google Cast device, we’ve seen tremendous success. 17 million Chromecast devices have been sold, with 1.5 billion touches of the Cast button, changing the way people watch TV. In the US, active Chromecast users are consuming 66% more content per day than at launch in July 2013. We see a 45% increase in YouTube watch time upon a Chromecast activation.
The Google Cast ecosystem continues to grow, with a range of new entertainment devices with Google Cast built-in-- from Chromecast and Android TV devices to speakers and soundbars.
Today at Google I/O, we are announcing new developer tools specifically for mobile app and game developers to bring new experiences to the TV.
We are making it easy for mobile developers to bring graphically intensive apps or games to Google Cast receivers with Google Cast Remote Display APIs for Android and iOS.
While Casting your Android screen is an existing option for users, the new Remote Display API allows mobile developers to build a tailored, integrated second screen experience, without requiring an identical mirroring of content between mobile devices and the Google Cast device.
Remote Display will be available both iOS and Android. Your app will contain the same Google Cast icon allowing users to select a device. On Android, you’ll connect to the device using the helper class CastRemoteDisplayLocalService, then create a subclass of CastPresentation where you can call setContentView() to display any content you want (including drawing directly on a SurfaceView!). The contents of your CastPresentation are then sent over to the connected Google Cast device for display. On iOS, you’ll use the core Google Cast SDK to discover receivers and connect to one, then GCKRemoteDisplayChannel to establish a new Remote Display session. Your app will then send video and audio frames via the session. Adaptors for OpenGL ES and Metal are provided to help integrating Remote Display with existing rendering code.
There’s no need to write a receiver app as the Remote Display APIs are supported natively by all Google Cast receivers. However, you’ll still need to register a Remote Display App ID using the Google Cast SDK Developer Console.
See Remote Display in action with Driver® Speedboat Paradise:
Autoplay and Queuing APIs allow developers to create content queues and begin buffering a second video while a first video is finishing playback. This enables the creation of a continuous playback experience and can significantly increase watch time, helping lift per-session watch times by 10-20% or more.
Playing single media items on Chromecast has been something RemoteMediaPlayer (or CastCompanionLibrary’s VideoCastController) has been doing well for some time. With this release, RemoteMediaPlayer is gaining a full media queue, allowing you to queue up multiple MediaQueueItems, skip between items, set a repeat mode, reorder the queue, and enable autoplay for a seamless media playback experience. The MediaStatus returned to you will be augmented with the current queue of items as well as new OnPreloadStatusUpdatedListener, allowing you to display what will be played next. This ensures that all connected devices can easily maintain a synchronized queue of upcoming media items, opening up new possibilities of creating collaborative Google Cast media experiences.
Since last November, Cast has had the ability to turn your TV screen into a game board, racetrack, dance floor, or trivia quiz—inviting everyone in your living room to use their phone as a personal game controller. Now we’re introducing new Game Manager APIs that will simplify the process for developers to build multiplayer games. To make it easier to synchronize game state across a potentially large number of players, Google Play services 7.5 introduces the Cast Game Manager API. This API, available for Android via the GameManagerClient class, iOS, Chrome, and for receivers, allows you to send messages and state changes to all connected clients and the receiver. All of the send methods also have a method that includes a specific player ID, making it possible to have multiple players sharing a single sender device.
All of these APIs are available on Android today. iOS and Chrome SDK updates will be available in the coming days.
You can learn more about these Google Cast APIs on the Google Cast Developers Site. We’re excited to see what you come up with to bring more mobile-centric experiences to the living room.
Posted by Monica Bagagem, Developer Marketing
Google I/O 2015 starts tomorrow, and, like last year, we’ve got an exciting lineup of design-focused content for both developers and designers to experience in-person and online. Just a year ago, we announced material design - a system for cross-platform visual, motion, and interaction design. This year at I/O, we’ll see how material has been adopted and implemented by the community, and our approach on design across our platforms.
At 4PM PDT on Thursday, May 28, join Matias Duarte’s “Material Now” session to recap where we’ve been and get a sneak peek of where we’re going with design at Google. We’ll be recognizing some of the phenomenal material design work from across the community, so definitely tune in if you’re an Android developer or designer. For more details, check Matias’ post on Google+.
The session will be live streamed so you can follow along in real-time even if you’re not at Moscone. Recordings will also be available shortly after on the I/O website.
Add Design Sessions to your I/O schedule
We’ve dedicated an entire section of Moscone West to design-related programming, including one-on-one and group UX reviews with members of the material design team. Appointments will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, but we'll also have Google designers on hand for more casual questions.
Add Material Design Reviews to your I/O schedule
Google designers and engineers will host several deep-dive, 20 minute tech talks in a breakout area within the Design Sandbox on Level 2. The space has been designed to facilitate conversation and discussion with small audiences, so come prepared with questions! We’ll be covering a range of topics such as cross-platform and responsive design, designing for platforms like Google Cast and Android Auto, and how to adapt material design to your brand. As an added bonus, most Sandbox Talks will take place twice throughout the conference giving you more flexibility to adjust your schedule.
Add Design Sandbox Talks to your I/O schedule
Explore the full Google I/O schedule here.
Be sure to follow +GoogleDesign and @GoogleDesign, where we’ll be posting design-related announcements throughout the conference. You can also follow and join the general conversation about I/O at #io15. See you tomorrow!
Posted by Fabian Schlup, Software Engineer
Starting now, goo.gl short links function as a single link you can use to all your content — whether that content is in your Android app, iOS app, or website. Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to set up App Indexing for Android and iOS, goo.gl URLs will send users straight to the right page in your app if they have it installed, and everyone else to your website. This will provide additional opportunities for your app users to re-engage with your app.
This feature works for both new short URLs and retroactively, so any existing goo.gl short links to your content will now also direct users to your app.
Zillow shares a short URL on Twitter that automatically links to their native app.
You can also make full use of this feature by integrating the URL Shortener API into your app’s share flow, so users can share links that automatically redirect to your native app cross-platform. This will also allow others to embed links in their websites and apps which deep link directly to your app.
Take Google Maps as an example. With the new cross-platform goo.gl links, the Maps share button generates one link that provides the best possible sharing experience for everyone. When opened, the link auto-detects the user’s platform and if they have Maps installed. If the user has the app installed, the short link opens the content directly in the Android or iOS Maps app. If the user doesn’t have the app installed or is on desktop, the short link opens the page on the Maps website.
Try it out for yourself! Don’t forget to use a phone with the Google Maps app installed: http://goo.gl/maps/xlWFj.
To set up app deep linking on goo.gl:
We hope you enjoy this new functionality and happy cross-platform sharing!
Posted by Eli Wald, Product Manager
We’ve been helping users discover relevant content from Android apps in Google search results for a while now. Starting today, we’re bringing App Indexing to iOS apps as well. This means users on both Android and iOS will be able to open mobile app content straight from Google Search.
Indexed links from an initial group of apps we’ve been working with will begin appearing on iOS in search results both in the Google App and Chrome for signed-in users globally in the coming weeks:
While App Indexing for iOS is launching with a small group of test partners initially, we’re working to make this technology available to more app developers as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are the steps to get a head start on App Indexing for iOS:
If you happen to be attending Google I/O this week, stop by our talk titled “Get your app in the Google index” to learn more about App Indexing. You’ll also find detailed documentation on App Indexing for iOS at g.co/AppIndexing. If you’ve got more questions, drop by our Webmaster help forum.
Posted by Mike Pegg, reppin' I/O since 2011
Google I/O is almost here! We’ll officially kick-off live from the Moscone Center in San Francisco at 9:30AM PDT this Thursday, May 28th. While we’re putting the finishing touches on the keynote, sessions, sandbox talks, and code labs, we wanted to provide you with some tips to get ready to experience I/O, either in-person or offsite.
To get the most out of Google I/O, make sure to download the I/O Android App and/or add the I/O web app to your mobile homescreen (both work offline!). From either, you can plan your schedule, view the venue map, and keep up with the latest I/O details. We just updated the website this morning, optimizing it for real-time content, as well as the Android app on Google Play - make sure to download the latest version (3.3.2) before the conference starts.
New this year, keynote access will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis during badge pickup. Be sure to swing by Moscone West tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27th between 9AM-8PM PDT to pick up your badge (full badge pick-up schedule). Don’t forget to bring your government-issued photo ID and a copy of your ticket (on your phone or a printed copy). If you’re an Academic attendee, please remember to bring proof of eligibility. You might want to read through the pro tips in our FAQ before you arrive to learn how to best navigate the conference.
Last but not least, we’re looking forward to kicking back and relaxing with you at the After Hours party during the evening of Day 1. Expect good food, good drinks, and a few Googley surprises. Be sure to check your email during the event for further instructions.
Can’t join us in person? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Whether you’re looking to to experience I/O with other devs in your neighborhood, or if you’ll be streaming it live from your couch, here are some ways you can connect with I/O in real-time:
We’re looking forward to seeing you in person or remotely on Thursday and Friday. Don’t forget to join the social conversation at #io15!
Posted by Hillel Maoz, Engineering Lead, Search Console Team and Mariya Moeva, Webmaster Trends Analyst
Originally posted to the Webmaster Central blog
Wouldn’t it be nifty if you could track where your indexed app content shows up in search results, for which queries, which app pages are most popular, and which ones have errors? Yeah, we thought so too! So we’ve equipped our freshly renamed Search Console with new reports to show you how Google understands and treats your app content in search results.
Our goal is to make Search Console a comprehensive source of information for everyone who cares about search, regardless of the format of their content. So, if you own or develop an app, Search Console is your new go-to place for search stats.
Simply open Search Console and enter your app name: android-app://com.example. Of course, we’ll only show data to authorized app owners, so you need to use your Google Play account to let Search Console know you have access to the app. If you don’t have access to your app in Google Play, ask an owner to verify the app in Search Console and add you next.
Associating your site with your app is necessary for App Indexing to work. Plus, it helps with understanding and ranking the app content better.
The new Search Analytics report provides detailed information on top queries, top app pages, and traffic by country. It also has a comprehensive set of filters, allowing you to narrow down to a specific query type or region, or sort by clicks, impressions, CTR, and positions.
Use the Search Analytics report to compare which app content you consider most important with the content that actually shows up in search and gets the most clicks. If they match, you’re on the right track! Your users are finding and liking what you want them to see. If there’s little overlap, you may need to restructure your navigation, or make the most important content easier to find. Also worth checking in this case: have you provided deep links to all the app content you want your users to find?
If we encounter errors while indexing your app content, we won’t be able to show deep links for those app pages in search results. The Crawl Errors report will show you the type and number of errors we’ve detected.
We’ve created an alpha version of the Fetch as Google tool for apps to help you check if an app URI works and see how Google renders it. It can also be useful for comparing the app content with the webpage content to debug errors such as content mismatch. In many cases, the mismatch errors are caused by blocked resources within the app or by pop-ups asking users to sign in or register. Now you can see and resolve these issues.
To get started on optimizing and troubleshooting your own app, add it to Search Console now. If you want to know more about App Indexing, read about it on our Developer Site. And, as always, you’re welcome to drop by the help forum with more questions.
Posted by Anthony Maurice, Fun Propulsion Labs at Google
Fun Propulsion Labs at Google* is back with an exciting new release for game developers. We’ve updated Pie Noon (our open source Android game) to add support for Google Cardboard, letting you jump into the action directly using your Android phone as a virtual reality headset! Select your targets by looking at them and throw pies with a flick of the switch.
We used the Cardboard SDK for Android, which helps simplify common virtual reality tasks like head tracking, rendering for Cardboard, and handling specialized input events. And you might remember us from before, bringing exciting game technologies like FlatBuffers, Pindrop, and Motive, all of which you can see in use in Pie Noon.
You can grab the latest version of Pie Noon on Google Play to try it out, or crack open the source code, and take a look at how we brought an existing game into virtual reality.
* Fun Propulsion Labs is a team within Google that's dedicated to advancing gaming on Android and other platforms.
Today we launched the official schedule for Google I/O 2015 at google.com/io. At this year’s event, happening May 28-29 in San Francisco, we’ll host more than 200 talks centered around some important topics which matter to you: Design & Develop, to help you build beautiful, powerful apps; Earn & Engage, where we’ll cover tools to grow your user base and create sustainable, successful businesses; and What’s Next, a peek into Google’s emerging platforms. With just over three weeks until Google I/O, start planning your schedule today!
Whether you’re attending in person or virtually, you can get started building your schedule. Don’t worry about converting the start and end times to your local time zone, we’ve taken care of that for you. Simply sign in to the I/O website to add talks directly to “My Schedule.” If you’re using Chrome (on Android or desktop), you can enable notifications for events added to your schedule so that you can be sure to catch them. That way, you won’t miss exciting sessions like Astro Teller’s “Helping Moonshots Survive Contact with the Real World” or an update from the ATAP team on some cool new projects they’re working on. All sessions will be livestreamed, so whether you’re watching from one of the 400 I/O Extended Locations around the world or the comfort of your own desk, we’ve got you covered.
In addition to the traditional breakout sessions, which are livestreamed, if you’re attending in person, you’ll also get a chance to go to more than 100 sandbox talks. These intimate, 20-minute talks are often more technical, and the smaller size means that you’ll get a chance to interact directly with the Googlers teaching them. Together, you can roll up your sleeves and tackle topics ranging from “Memory Performance & Tooling” to “What's new in the Google Play Developer Console.” Most sandbox talks will happen twice throughout the two-day event, so you’ll have more chances to participate.
Don’t forget to save time in your schedule for a code lab or two. Back by popular demand, these self-paced workshops will showcase a variety of technologies from Google on mobile, wearables, and Cloud to name a few. We’ll provide the workstations and tablets for use on-site - just bring yourself any time during the two days of I/O! If you have your own device, Googlers will be on hand to help you get set up so you can jump into it.
We’re getting really excited about Google I/O 2015 and today’s schedule is just a preview of what’s to come. We’ll be adding more sessions, sandbox talks, and events to the schedule as we get closer to I/O. But, we can’t give everything away beforehand. Be sure to check the agenda again after the keynote on Day 1, for those top secret talks. We look forward to connecting with you in-person, at I/O Extended or via I/O Live in a few weeks!