Android fans, get ready for more beta testing! On Thursday, Google rolled out two new tools to help speed up the way that app developers test titles and gather user feedback.
Under the current system, testing an app or game through Google Play can be quite irksome. Namely, you, the user, have to sign up with a Google+ community or Google Group before you can start using the program.
One of the few benefits of this kind of "closed beta" is that it does foster group discussion and feedback-gathering in an organized way.
A new kind of closed beta option opens up today that lets developers decide who has access to their respective apps. Using email addresses, mobile coders can upload a .CSV file or manually add users. This system forces you, the tester, to join any forums or communities.
An even easier method for you and a large number of other testers is Google's other new open-beta feature that essentially lets anyone possessing a URL access the app. Developers are, however, able to restrict the maximum number of users who are able to sign up, and it works only if they choose this option over the other one.
It's easy to see why Google is making these changes. According to its findings, 80 percent of developers with popular apps are regularly running tests. Adding new tools should only increase that figure.
Beta testing is a great way to test features against each other, mine for bugs, and gather early feedback. The prerelease apps aren't always pretty, but, when done properly, beta testing leads to a more-polished final product. Casting this wider net should hopefully lead to an even better app experience for Android.