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Google Play adopts App Store-like features including in-app events and custom product pages – TechCrunch

Google Play adopts App Store-like features including in-app events and custom product pages – TechCrunch

At Google’s I/O developer conference, the company rolled out a series of updates for Android app developers who publish to Google Play. Among these were two high-profile changes to its Google Play app marketplace, custom store listings and in-app events, which follow updates Apple made to its own App Store just last year.

Google had been offering A/B testing for product page enhancements since 2015 — a feature that allows developers to see which text and graphics would best convert users.

Apple later adopted a similar feature when, at last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, it introduced Product Page Optimization designed to help developers to try out different app screenshots, videos, and even app icons to try to appeal to different types of users. Developers could segment a certain percentage of App Store traffic to these cohorts to see which product pages performed better before deciding which page should be their default.

Apple last year also announced a related feature called Custom Product Pages that lets developers create different product pages to highlight different app features, each with its own unique URL to be used in external marketing channels.

Today, Google is following suit and essentially launching the same thing with Custom Store Listings.

Instead of simply testing different product pages, Android app developers will be able to make up to 50 custom store listings for their apps. Each page will have its own analytics and deep links available. Notably, this is more listings than Apple’s solution offers, which is currently set at 35 per app. Google explains developers can use this feature to display different listings to users based on where they’re coming from. For example, a developer with a recipe-finding app could target ad campaigns to U.S. users based on U.S. holidays, by showcasing recipes for Thanksgiving or July 4th. But it could target users from other markets at different times with recipes related to their own cultural traditions.

Apple last year also introduced an App Store feature, in-app events, to allow developers to promote real-time happenings going on inside their apps — like special events or even just seasonal deals.

Google Play is now rolling out its own take on this feature, as well.

With the launch of what it’s calling “LiveOps,” developers will be able to submit content for featuring on the Play Store, including major updates for their app or game, in-app events, and limited-time offers.

Google says LiveOps can drive 5% more 28-day active users to apps and deliver 4% higher revenue for those using the feature compared with those who don’t. The feature is in an invite-only beta testing phase for the time being.

While these changes were the highlights among those designed to help developers target, acquire and re-engage their users, Google also announced a few other notable Google Play updates.

The company said the Play Store would be updated to help people find the best tablet-optimized apps with new large-screen focused editorial content and a separate review and rating system for large-screen applications. Google Play will also later this year be updated to look better on tablets and foldable devices.

Image Credits: Google

For developers, Google also launched the Google Play SDK Index which lists over 100 popular SDKs and which app permissions they use, so developers can determine if they adhere to Google Play policies and help fill out their app’s privacy labels.

The company said it will soon launch a new Play Console page dedicated to deep links to put all the information and tools for deep links in one place. It also improved its Store Listing Experiments feature (aka A/B testing) to allow developers to see their results more quickly, with more transparency and control so they can better understand how long each experiment may need to run.

And beyond this, it rolled out features focus on improving app quality, including a new Developer Reporting API for accessing Android vitals metrics and issues data outside the Play Console; support for viewing vitals data at the country level; and Google said it’s making it possible to view vitals alongside Firebase Crashlytics. It updated the Play Console by adding revenue and revenue growth metrics to Reach and devices and overhauling its device catalog to include install data and filters by new device attributes like shared libraries. It said it’s now easier to test apps on different form factors including Android Auto and soon, Wear OS.

Play App Signing was updated to use Google Cloud Key Management and the ability for any app to perform an app signing key rotation in the event of an incident or as a security best practice from the Play Console.

And finally, Google’s In-app Updates API will now let users know if there’s an update available within 15 minutes instead of up to 24 hours.


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LinkedIn Adds Live Captions for Audio Events, Custom URL Listings on Creator Profiles

LinkedIn Adds Live Captions for Audio Events, Custom URL Listings on Creator Profiles

These could definitely come in handy.

Today, LinkedIn has announced some new updates to improve accessibility, and enhance user Service listings, including real-time captions for live audio events, improved search for posts that you’ve already seen, and a custom URL display option on Creator profiles.

The main update is real-time captions for LinkedIn audio events.

LinkedIn captions for audio events

As explained by LinkedIn:

Up until now, when members joined an audio event on LinkedIn, they could only listen to it. By adding real-time captions, we are making audio events more accessible and inclusive for members with hearing impairments.”

As you can see in the above example, you’ll now have the option to read along with what’s being said, which will improve accessibility, while also providing more ways for all users to tune in to live audio discussions wherever they have time.

LinkedIn’s audio events, launched back in January, were initially rolled out to latch onto the Clubhouse boom, but have since become a valuable addition to the LinkedIn connection process. Really, audio meet-ups like this probably fit better on LinkedIn than in other apps, as the professional focus of the platform may make them more relevant and topical, while more people are likely looking to catch up with those in their industry amid the WFH shift.

Discovery of LinkedIn’s audio events remains somewhat problematic, but maybe, if this can be enhanced, and more users can be alerted to potentially relevant rooms as they happen, it could end up being a highly valuable element of the LinkedIn experience.

Leaning into the discovery aspect, LinkedIn’s also launching a four-week interactive series of real-time conversations to help LinkedIn members ‘build the kinds of skills that can help them advance their careers’.

LinkedIn Learning events

“Every Wednesday from May 18th to June 8th, learners will be able to ask questions, share experiences, and join conversations with incredible instructors on topics like Making better decisions with Dan Ariely or Reinventing yourself with Debbie Milman.”

That could be a good way to raise awareness of LinkedIn’s live events, while also showcasing LinkedIn Learning instructors, helping to raise awareness of the platform’s broader educational offerings. 

Again, it still feels like LinkedIn maybe needs a separate tab in the app to showcase its live events in real-time, but more programs like this will help to make more users aware of such offerings.

For now, you can look up ‘LinkedIn Learning Live’ in the app to discover upcoming events. You can also use the ‘Events’ filter when searching by topic to find upcoming live discussions on a given topic.

On another front, LinkedIn’s also looking to make it easier to find posts that you’ve already seen in the app.

We hear from members that they want to re-discover posts they’ve seen, and we made it much easier. If you’re looking for something that you’ve seen before on Feed, you can now search with the creator’s name and keywords in their post.”

Which doesn’t seem like a major enhancement, but it may help you find that one post from that one guy that you can remember seeing, but can’t for the life of you relocate.

Then again, if you knew the creators’ name already, you’d be able to look up their profile and check their ‘Activity’ feed. 

Maybe it helps, but it doesn’t seem like a major update.

LinkedIn’s also added some improvements for its Services listings, with service providers now able to share enhanced reviews with their community.

LinkedIn Service reviews

To be clear, LinkedIn has enabled Services providers to display customer reviews since August last year, but this improved display will make it easier for profile visitors to see these comments in-stream.

“We know that word of mouth is how many providers find new clients and grow their business. It is also critical for clients to help validate which service provider is best for them. By sharing reviews in their feed, service providers can multiply the impact of a single review and leverage the benefits of word-of-mouth recommendations across their community.”

That could be hugely beneficial for those looking to use LinkedIn to attract business leads, with direct customer feedback now available alongside your service listings. 

And it could be worth considering – LinkedIn says that since March 2020, it’s seen 3.5x growth in people searching and requesting services in the app – ‘especially in categories such as business and executive coaching, marketing, design, and software development’.

Could be a valuable option.

Finally, LinkedIn has also officially announced that it will soon enable all users to add a link to the top of their profile, re-directing profile visitors to their company website.

LinkedIn links on profiles

Initially spotted in testing late last month, LinkedIn says that the feature will only be available to those using its Creator Mode option at first, before being rolled out to all users in the near future (though no timeline as yet).

These are some handy additions for LinkedIn – nothing game-changing, as such, but small tweaks and improvements that could have a significant impact on your process.

And with LinkedIn continuing to see ‘record levels of engagement’, and interest in the platform set to rise further amid the post-pandemic recovery, it could be worth taking the time to try out these new options, in order to understand how to make best use of each in your process.