Google Play Store’s new Algorithm will reduce your app size to half

When we’re talking about smartphones and the amount of mobile data or connectivity options it gives us access to, it certainly is limited sometimes. Thus, Google Play is now investing more into helping developers reduce app sizes and display the correct download(or update) size to users.
Google Play is introducing a new ‘Delta’ algorithm update, according to which only changes(i.e deltas) for the designated APKs are downloaded and then merged with the existing parts of the app. This means that you will now only download a small part of the app that needs to updated, instead of the whole APK. This algorithm update also reduces the size of the updates.

This helps reduce the size of updates, making it less of a burden on users to get an updated app experience. And in a country like India, where 3G connectivity and Wi-Fi services are destitute, this will prove to be a boon for us.

Taking a peek at the reduction in app sizes, the official blogpost mentions two patch updates for Google Chrome for Android. It shows that a major 22.8MB app update, from M46 to M47 has now been shrunk down to 12.9MB. While a 15.3 MB(bigger than the current major update size) minor update of the M47 build has now been shrunk to a meager 3.6MB, using the new ‘Bsdiff’ delta algorithm.

In an Android Developers blog post, Google announced that it has added a new algorithm to the Google Play Store that will reduce the size of the updates for Android apps, as well as show users the actual size of these updates.

Last year, Android users downloaded more than 65 billion apps from the Google Play Store, according to the blog post. With such rapid growth, developers are being pushed to release more frequent updates to their apps to add new content, fix security issues and make other changes according to the feedback of users.

The blog post noted two recent patches to the Google Chrome browser for Android. The M46 to M47 major update had a size of 22.8 MB, while the M47 minor update was 15.3 MB. With the bsdiff algorithm, the sizes of the updates were reduced to 12.9 MB and 3.6 MB, respectively.
Some apps require the download of expansion files, which are additional downloads to a main app that are much larger as they contain the resource files of the app, such as the content used by mobile games. Algorithms will also begin to be applied to these expansion files to reduce the initial installation size by 12 percent and updates by 65 percent, on average.
In addition to the release of the bsdiff algorithm, the Google Play Store will now display the amount of data required to download apps and updates. This covers the actual download size for users to access the app and the size of updates for apps already installed, and not just the file sizes of APKs.
Users who own high-end Android smartphones with massive memory cards and usually connect to Wi-Fi networks might not see much of a difference with these Google Play Store updates. However, for Android owners who are limited to data plans and with small storage on their devices, these changes will allow them to maximize the capabilities of their smartphones
The amount of data required for updating Google Play apps can really send your mobile bill through the roof, especially if you aren’t using Wi-Fi. Fortunately, your concerns have been heard. Originally created by Colin Percival, Google has rolled out a new Delta algorithm, bsdiff, which reduces the app update size and lets you save on the data required for updating them.

This new algorithm does this by further compressing the size of patches for apps and games. According to a blog post by Anthony Morris, SWE Google Play, for about 98 percent of app updates from the Play Store, only deltas to APK files are downloaded and merged with the existing files to reduce the size of the updates. Now, Google’s new algorithm will further reduce the patches by up to 50 percent. As he explains in the post,
Google has also applied the new algorithm to APK Expansion Files to allow users to include additional large files of up to 2GB in size with their apps. This means that the download size of your initial installs will now be lower by about 12 percent, and your updates by approximately 65 percent.

If the changes made to Google Play aren’t reflecting on your screen yet, don’t panic because, as always, they are being rolled out to all users and should reach you sometime in the coming weeks.

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