GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED an updated API for the Google Play store.
Google Play store API version 2 adds the ability to automate a number of key developer processes and manipulate product listings within the store.
The update adds the ability to assign APKs, the compiled files of Android apps, to different "tracks" - alpha, beta, stage rollout or production.
Google does not provide applications or scripts for any of these processes, simply the necessary interface to allow you to write your own.
A typical use case could be the ability to release an update to an app by uploading an APK file, altering the description in the Google Play store and setting download permissions, for example by handset or Android version, and then scheduling a time for rollout, all from a single button.
Google has a complete guide to creating scripts and apps using the new API. The new addition joins existing APIs for in-app purchasing and subscriptions.
Although automating these processes might prove to be a more efficient way for larger developers to work, it does present a number of potential issues that could lead to premature release or compilation of a program before bugs have been removed.
In the wrong hands, it could even lead to a previously reputable app releasing a version with malware embedded.
In April, F-Secure revealed that 99 percent of mobile malware came from the Android operating system, however of that, just two percent was found in the Google Play store. Up to one million Android users fell victim to a Bitcoin mining virus after downloading infected software. µ