This week Google has made several changes to the market, now calling it Google Play and also increasing the 50MB limit on file sizes for apps. The size increase will be very helpful especially to developers of games that need larger file downloads. The way this works is that the file downloads initially will still be 50MB in the market but developers can house up to two, 2GB files for additional files directly on Google’s servers. Before, developers would have to host the additional files on their own servers. With the change implemented in file size, the large apps that you download will come from Google’s servers which we can hope will be faster and more reliable. The name change has gotten all of the press this week but long term, the file size increase will have a huge impact on the apps we download.
Another change along with the file sizes, will be the return policy. The new policy is still a 15 minute window but it now starts after the download has completed. There were times where the download took almost the entire 15 minutes to complete for me on low speed connections. It is frustrating when you paid for an app and the download took so long that you could not get it tested before the refund window closed. I still wish Google would expand the refund window to 2 hours. I think for most smaller apps 15 minutes is fine but as apps get larger and more complex, a few hours would be a more reasonable refund period. I have paid $20 for Office and remote desktop apps that took more time to download, test and configure than the refund windows allowed for. I think the short window is going to become more of an issue, but that is a post for another day.
Google does suggest that developers use the first file as a static download and the second file be the patch updates. This will allow developers to (theoretically) only need to update the patch file. It should also keep the file size smaller for the update files. This method will make developer’s deployments in the market an easier process since they should only have to update the one file. Google seems to be really ramping up their efforts in the market. With the re-branding of the apps along with the increased file size, I think they may be trying to improve the user experience as well as the developer’s ease of entry into the marketplace. This seems to be a win for everyone.