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android smartphone: May 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

Bring Your Android App to Chromebooks

Users love Chromebooks for their speed, security and simplicity. According to IDC1, in Q1 of this year Chromebook shipments overtook Macs in the U.S. That means, thanks to your support, in the U.S. Chrome OS is now the second most popular PC operating system.  As we continue to increase our focus on mobility, we want to make sure your apps are easily available on this new form factor, reaching the many Chrome devices while maintaining a great experience.

Today we announced that we’re adding Android apps to Chromebooks, which means users will be able to install the apps they know and love. Later this year you can expand your app’s reach to a new hardware platform and wider audience while maximizing the Google Play ecosystem. With expanded app availability, new use cases and improved workflows can be achieved for all Chromebook users, whether for personal use, for work or for education.  As a developer we encourage you to test your app as described here.

Developers can start to optimize their app for the Chromebook form factor in advance of launch later in 2016. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Android Apps can be shown in 3 different window sizes to allow the best experience

  • Users can multi-task with multiple Android apps in moveable windows along with a full desktop browser, all within the familiar Chrome OS interface.

  • Keyboard, mouse, and touch input will seamlessly work together

  • Users will get Android notifications on their Chromebooks

  • Android apps benefit from the Wifi or Bluetooth connectivity setup by the user or the administrator

  • File sharing is seamless between Chrome and Android apps through the Files app

  • Performance of demanding apps such as games or design apps is excellent

In addition to being a great personal device, one of the reasons Chromebooks are popular in schools and businesses is that you can centrally manage and configure them with 200+ policies. Administrators can manage Android apps on Chromebooks using the same Admin Console. In addition to whitelisting or push installing specific apps to users, admins can selectively enable them for parts of their organization while disabling in others.

Please come to our Google I/O session on May 19th at 4 pm. You will hear directly  from our friendly engineers on how to optimize your Android app for Chromebooks. We are making the feature available in early June on Asus Chromebook Flip, Chromebook Pixel (2015) and Acer Chromebook R11 specifically for developers to have sufficient time to test their apps. For the actual launch and thereafter we will keep adding support for the following list of devices. Please see detailed instructions on how to get started with testing your apps.

1 - IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, May 2016

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Google Play services 9.0 updates

It’s been a little while since we made a release of Google Play services, because we’ve been busy integrating Firebase. While Firebase will contain the SDKs you’ve come to know and love for building mobile applications that run cross platform, we’ll also continue to ship Google Play services updates with new SDKs regularly. Firebase was built using Google Play services 9.0, so let’s dig a little deeper into some of the new and cool APIs that are available in this release.


If you build apps that monetize with ads, we’ve added a lot of updates since 8.4. There's a new Initialization method that publishers can use to kick off the SDK at app start. There's also a new native ads format: Native Ads Express. With Native Ads Express, publishers can define CSS templates for their ad units that define fonts, colors, positioning, and other style information. AdMob combines these with advertiser assets like headlines and calls to action to make a finished ad, which is displayed in a NativeExpressAdView. Moving the work of customizing presentation off the device means there's less mobile code required, plus it's possible to update templates without redeploying the app.


We’re continuing to update BLE beacon scanning in Nearby Messages. Any app with ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION will be able to scan for beacons via Nearby without any additional permissions. We recommend developers check to see if the app has the location permission prior to calling GoogleApiClient.connect(). Get started here.

For peer-to-peer Nearby Messages, there’s now an option to show the opt-in dialog upon connection to the GoogleApiClient which significantly reduces boilerplate for obtaining the Nearby permission.

Player Stats API

We’re also continuing to update the Play Games Client SDK with improvements to the Player Stat API and the public launch of the video recording API. The Player Stats API now has Predictive Analytics to help you identify which groups of players are likely to spend or churn, and we are adding new predictions for how much a player is likely to spend within 28 days and the probability that a player is a high spender. This allows you to tailor experiences for these players to try to increase their spend or engagement. Learn more about the Player Stats API.

Video recording API

You will be able to easily add video recording to your app and let users share their videos with their friends and on YouTube in a few simple steps. In the coming months, we are also adding live streaming functionality to allow your fans to broadcast their gameplay experiences in real time on YouTube.

That’s it for this release of Google Play services 9.0 -- we’re continuing to ship new APIs all the time so watch this blog for future announcements.

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Enhancing Android Pay APIs

Posted by Pali Bhat, Senior Director, Product Management

Today, we’re enhancing our APIs, making it easier than ever for the developer community to integrate with Android Pay. With just a few lines of code, you can enable quick and seamless checkout to help increase purchase conversions and ongoing engagement.

Improve conversions within apps

We’ve been working with popular apps such as Airbnb, Yelp Eat24, Kickstarter, TicketMaster, Uber and many others to bring the ease of speedy checkouts to apps. We also want to make the same great in-app experience available to all developers, big or small. So we’re taking a few steps:

  • Earlier today, we announced Android Instant Apps, which gives users the ability to pay using Android Pay with a single tap, without the friction of getting a user to install the app to complete their transaction. 

Example of Android Pay in Android Instant Apps

  • We’re opening the Android Pay API to all developers selling physical goods and services in markets where Android Pay is available—just sign up at developers.google.com/android-pay/

  • We’ve teamed up with payment processors globally so developers can integrate Android Pay with their Android apps in just a few hours.

Enhance mobile web payments

Many users continue to make purchases on mobile sites. But buying something from a website on your phone can be clumsy and cumbersome, which results in much lower conversion rates on mobile sites than on desktop sites.

To make painful web checkout forms a thing of the past, we will be launching PaymentRequest, a brand new web API that we are developing together with Chrome and standardizing across browsers through W3C. Android Pay will be part of this API to allow users to pay on mobile websites as they do in-store and in-app.

Example of Android Pay in PaymentRequest

Drive deeper engagement

Thanks for all the great feedback on our Save to Android Pay API since launch. You spoke and we’ve listened: We think you’ll be thrilled with the latest improvements to the Save to Android Pay API. The following enhancements help developers build stronger loyalty and engagement with new and existing customers:

  • Enable users to add offers, loyalty cards and gift cards in the Android Pay app with the tap of a button. Simply add a deep link to an email, SMS message, push notification or within an app and you’re all set.

  • Enroll new customers into a loyalty program in a variety of ways with the new simplified sign-up feature. Customers can sign-up either in store via a NFC tap or through a sign-up page linked from an Android Pay transaction notification.

Example sign-up feature for Walgreens Balance Reward®  
via Save to Android Pay from transaction notification

We believe that mobile payments can make for a better, more secure shopping experience - so we're in this together for the long haul. We’re building a robust Android Pay ecosystem, one that’s open and scalable, to enable developers to drive mobile payments - and their businesses - forward. We're very excited for the road ahead and we hope you are too.

To learn more about Android Pay and share your feedback, visit our developer pages.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Introducing the second class of Launchpad Accelerator

This week Launchpad Accelerator announces its second class, which includes 24 promising startups from around
the world. While the number of accelerators is at an all-time high, we take a different approach with Launchpad Accelerator, a program that
exclusively works with late-stage tech startups in emerging markets -- Brazil,
Indonesia, India and Mexico.

See what it’s like to participate in the Accelerator.

“We provide comprehensive mentorship that delivers results,” says Jacob Greenshpan, one of Launchpad’s lead mentors. “We start by running a ‘patient diagnostic’
to determine each startup’s critical challenges, and then deploy precise
mentorship, actionable solutions, and Google resources that enables the app to

Class 2 kicks off June 13. The startups will descend on Google HQ for an
intensive 2 week bootcamp. Under the tutelage of Google product teams and
mentors from the global Launchpad network, they will receive intensive,
targeted mentoring, equity-free funding, and more benefits during the 6-month

Here’s the full list of startups (by country):


BankFacil Emprego Ligado AppProva GetNinjas Edools Love Mondays


HijUp Talenta Jarvis Store Ruangguru IDNtimes Codapay


Taskbob Programming Hub ShareChat RedCarpet PlaySimple Games MagicPin


Aliada SaferTaxi Conekta Konfio Kichink Miroculus

Google’s “Scalerator” Drives Results for Alumni

What advice do Class 1 alumni give to the new intake? “Come to the accelerator
with an open mind. You will be shocked to find how many things are going wrong
in your app. Thankfully the mentors will help you implement better solutions,”
says Vinicius Heimbeck, Founder of Brazilian mobile game developer UpBeat

UpBeat Games had more than 1,000% increase in daily app installations in Asia
during the period of a feature, as well as a 200% overall increase in active
users after following a long list of improvements Accelerator mentors
suggested. “We made optimizations that led us to be featured in Google Play,
which changed everything for us.”

See Upbeat Games at the Accelerator in this video.

“Believe you can build a world class product. The mentors will push you to bet
on yourself,” says Amarendra Sahu, Nestaway Co-founder and Class 1 alumni.
NestAway just closed a $30M Series C, one of the largest investment rounds in India this year.

“Your biggest enemy is not failure; it is the temptation to be ordinary. But
the mentors will push you to build an extraordinary product and scale an
extraordinary startup," says eFishery Co-founder and CEO Gibran Chuzaefah Amsi
El Farizy, who was announced as one of the top 27 leaders in Indonesia’s startup ecosystem, after participating in the
Accelerator program.