Google has begun rolling out the latest version of the Google Play Store, version 17.0.11. This update includes design changes that app developers will want to keep in mind for both their app and developer pages, as it may impact their App Store Optimization.
Toggle Dark Theme
Android 10 and higher devices have an optional dark theme, similar to Apple’s dark mode. The dark theme designed to improve visibility in low-light environments and for those sensitive to bright lights. It can be enabled from the system settings to switch between themes automatically or permanently. Developers can allow users to change each individual app’s theme between light and dark while it’s running or use the system default.
Android 10 also introduces Force Dark, a feature that automatically applies a dark theme to an app. Developers can opt in to Force Dark, but Google recommends testing the app thoroughly to ensure everything looks proper on the app.
Developers should consider how their apps look on the Google Play Store when the dark theme is active. As with iOS, creative sets should be designed to look good in both light and dark themes. If an app’s creative set does not look good when the Play Store has its dark theme active, this could negatively impact conversions.
Developer Page Changes
Google Play’s developer page gives app creators a page to provide information about themselves, their company and their apps. It’s a useful tool for helping users find more apps from developers whose apps they enjoy. Developer pages can also contribute to ASO by targeting keywords in the developer’s description.
Google Play v17.0.11 is changing how developer pages are displayed. Developer pages typically feature a featured image and a developer icon, with the icon displayed in the bottom middle of the featured image. With the update, the icon is moved to the right-hand side of the developer name.
While this change may not matter to many developers, there are also several who designed their icons and featured image to work together and treat the round icon as part of the featured image. Those developers will want to see how their icons and featured images look when viewed on 17.0.11 and previous versions to ensure the desired visual elements remain unchanged.
Other Upcoming Changes
While these are the most important changes, the Play Store’s APK indicates more are on the way.
Google is adding Incognito Mode to the Play Store. This allows users to browse without Google logging data from the session, so users searching in Incognito will not provide any browsing data that would normally help Google Play provide personalized recommendations. Downloads from the Play Store will still be logged and counted as normal.
Android users can install apps from outside of the Play Store, although the store remains the most popular channel for Android app discovery. Android users can grant permission to apps for “install from unknown sources.” The 17.0.11 APK includes code that requires users to grant the permissions again after they’re done downloading and installing apps from other sources, in order to reduce security risks.
Other minor changes include:
- A material design change away from the navigation drawer account switcher, so users can switch Google accounts by swiping or tapping on their avatars.
- A new floating snack bar design
- Repairs to an inline app changelogs bug
There are a variety of upcoming changes with Google Play v17.0.11. Some of these can impact App Store Optimization, like the dark theme and its impact on creative sets. Others could impact how the store gathers user information, such as Incognito Mode. Whatever the change, it’s important that developers remain aware of what’s new or different and how this could impact their apps and App Store Optimization.
Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.