android

Google’s latest version of the Play Store (v6.7) has started providing the option to join beta programs of apps through the Play Store itself, reports Android Beat. The option to become a beta tester is available on scrolling down on the app’s install page, if the option has been made available by the developer.

Developers have a choice to make the beta apps available only to users that join the Google+ community of the given app or make it available to everyone. Joining the beta program also allows users to leave direct feedback for the developers, which is not made publicly visible. Users can leave the program at any time from the same page. Note that the update is not retroactive, and will not help managing beta programs the user is already in. As of now, the update has not rolled out to all users, and those wanting to try it out can get the apk here.

Before Google added this feature, users had find the link to join the beta program, as well as use the Play Store page from inside a browser. The new process will make it much easier for users to join beta programs. Traditionally, due to the fragmented nature of the Android market, it is close to impossible to test on all devices and OS variants, a problem developers try to address through additional feedback from users prior to launch. The addition of the beta program will aid developers in getting this feedback, hopefully bettering the quality of the final release.

Other developments:

– Earlier this month, telecom operator Idea Cellular said it would provide carrier billing services for its customers so that they can pay for apps and content on the Google Play Store.

– In October last year, Google launched Google Play Music for family at $15 per month in some countries. In June, Google had added a free ad-supported radio element to its Music service in the US.

– In August last year, Google reduced the minimum purchase price for apps on Google Play in India to Rs 10, a fortnight after Apple introduced its new pricing tiers for India, that let developers charge Rs 10 for their apps.

– In February last year, Google started to pilot app promotions on the Play Store, essentially bringing advertising to a platform that it was only monetizing with paid transactions earlier.

Image source: Flickr user ScaarAT under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0