Google helps make more space for selfies and games you’ll only play one

Can’t save your latest selfie because it’s too difficult to decide which of the food delivery apps needs to go to the bin? Google can help you with that.

This new update from the team aims to help developers build applications which deliver the same experience to users, but reduces the demand on a device’s limited storage. The announcement was made at Playtime, Google’s developer conference, which isn’t the headline maker of Next ’18 but there are certainly some interesting updates.

“The Android App Bundle is Android’s new publishing format, with which you can deliver a great experience in a smaller app size,” Google Play Product Manager Matt Henderson wrote in a blog post. “Smaller apps have higher conversion rates and our user research shows that app size is a leading motivator in driving uninstalls.

“With the Android App Bundle’s modularization, you can deliver features on demand, instead of at install time, further reducing the size of your app.”

The concept is relatively simple. Users are only required to download the features and components of the app which are applicable and necessary. This might mean some components of the app can be downloaded at some point in the future, or never at all.

One of the features of this update is the downloadable plumbing. Most downloaded apps contain components which are not needed as they may have been installed previously or already on the device. In these instances, what’s the point in downloading redundant or replicated material? It eating up crucial selfie space. Google is now saying don’t bother.

In the simplest of terms, its similar to heading to the shops to buy the ingredients for beef stroganoff. Sure, you need onions and mushrooms, but considering you made lasagne last night you have some left over in the fridge. The space in the shopping bag and fridge could be used for beer instead.

It’s a simple idea, but the best ones often are and the results are quite impressive. Henderson claims there are thousands of apps which have already been created through the App Bundle, some being 35% smaller. This is a huge difference. If every app was 35% smaller, a genuine irritation for the consumer, limited on device storage space, could be addressed.

While many of the new flagship phones have massive amounts of storage, older models or those which are not top specs certainly don’t. With the complexity and depth of some applications continuing to rise, games for instance are becoming increasingly immersive and demanding, storage is being eaten up faster than ever. Another trend noted by Google is the number of users who actually download the app in the first place. For every 6 MB of size an app increases, the likelihood a user will download decreases by 1%. 1% likelihood might not sound significant, but 6 MB is not a massive increase in size either.

Smaller is better in the app world, not just for initial downloads but surviving the inevitable app slash as users attempt to recoup lost storage space. This isn’t a blockbuster update from the Google Play team, but it certainly is a useful one.