Google has been focusing on its Play Store for quite a while now to deliver more efficient service and better experience to its users. With today’s rapid growth of mobile apps, developers are frequently pushing updates on their apps to push great new contents, bug fixes and responding quickly on user feedback.
In the past years, developers are aiming towards thinning their apps to reduce its size due to the limitations on storage space available on smartphones. As the app size timely increases, there is also a corresponding data demands as well. This issue is affecting users who are on their limited data packages and concerned about the amount of data they use.
Luckily for Android users, Google is now implementing a new algorithm to decrease the size of the app updates thus reducing the data it needs to be transferred for app installation. Currently, app updates are done by means of downloading only the changes (deltas) to the APK and merging it with the existing files to complete the update. This method is just enough if you would think, but Google didn’t stop there. Just recently, the company rolled out a new delta algorithm with an implementation of bsdiff, which can effectively reduce update files by up to 50% or more compared to its previous algorithm. Bsdiff is capable of producing more efficient deltas of native libraries by means of taking advantage in compiling native code changes between app versions. This method however, requires native libraries to be uncompressed to avoid interference with delta algorithms.
When it comes to APK, the delta algorithm is also expanded to apply on APK Expansion Files in order to reduce the download size and initial installs by 12% and updates by 65% on average. In conjunction with effectively reducing the download size on apps, Google also made updates to its Play Store to show users the actual download size and not the APK size to avoid confusion. This method will surely give users the better knowledge regarding the size of the app or patches that they are planning to download and to decide on whether to obtain it using their mobile data or WiFi instead.
To fully take advantage of the new bsdiff method, developers still needs to optimize their apps specially when it comes to graphic files, removal of unused resources, data and code from the actual APK.
What do you think of this new delta algorithm from Google? Have you noticed the updates getting smaller in size for your apps? Share with us in the comments section below.