After 5+ years working on Developer Relations @ Google I decided to go back to product development and joined the Research & Machine Intelligence team at Google as the Technical Program Manager. I’m working on machine learning (ML) infrastructure and large scale ML deployments, and could not be more excited about this next logical step of my journey.
Fun fact: my Computer Science undergrad degree was in AI, and I did neural network work during my graduate studies, but it took me a few years to get back into it. Those dang AI winters got in the way. Timing is everything.
Turns out that a good mobile app is not complete without these 3 important features:
Friends and family app content content sharing.
Relevant and targeted notifications.
Frictionless in-app purchases.
How do I know? Well, I’ve spent quite a bit of quality time with several good research reports like this one by Google/Ipsos, this one by Localytics, and this one from AppAnnie. To help make it all actionable, I’ve worked with my awesome team to create a small pilot video series entitled “Acquire, Engage & Earn” and a couple of sample projects you can clone from GitHub. As you may have guessed, the three main episodes in the mini-series are devoted to mobile app content sharing, notifications and in-app billing respectively.
Acquire, Engage & Earn
So, here we go, let’s start with user acquisition and mobile app content sharing. In this video, you’ll learn why friends and family recommendations are important, and how to implement them in your app with App Invites from Google (g.co/AppInvites).
Next, let’s talk about user engagement. 1 in 4 of installed apps are never used, and only 26% are used daily [Ipsos]. One way to make sure your app is not one of the unlucky ones is to implement relevant and targeted notifications. You can do this with Google Cloud Messaging, and to get started check out the GCM Playground open source project, and watch the video below.
Last but not least, show me the money. When the user is ready to pay you, make it easy for them by using this code example explained in the last video of my mini-series. Spoiler alert: the video starts with an epic intro which is my acting debut alongside the great Todd Kerpelman. I decided to keep my day job.
And that’s all there’s to it! Next time you build an app, remember to design and implement features that make it easy for your users to share it, engage with it, and pay for it!
PS> If you’re not into watching educational videos, but came here purely for entertainment, watch the aforementioned (epic) intro which we conveniently made available as a standalone series teaser.
The 100 days of Google Dev are in full swing so I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorite videos you may have missed. The list is obviously biased and highly subjective, but you already knew that. Over the past several quarters our Search team at Google has been busy adding capabilities that make it easier for mobile app developers to integrate with Google Search. Starting with App Indexing, through Voice Actions, the Knowledge Graph and Google Now on Tap, there are a lot of new products and APIs your app can integrate with. Why? The benefits include better user acquisition (read: app installs), more user engagement (read: rather than sitting idle, your app is actually used) and, last but not least, user delight (read till the end to see what I mean).
Let me walk you through what’s new.
Voice Interaction API
The Voice Interaction API is new in Android M. It allows your app to carry on a conversation with the user. While previously one could trigger an app using voice actions, this API takes it to the next level by allowing your app to maintain a dialog with the user. Learn more form this video by Sunil Vemuri and Barnaby James.
Remember Webmaster Tools? No? That’s fine. Search released a new and improved version called Search Console, which lets you debug and analyze your Google Search performance. This includes troubleshooting App Indexing integration issues, which is very handy. To see how this all works, check out the video by Mariya Moeva.
AdWords, App Indexing and Analytics
While App Indexing brings organic user acquisition and engagement to your app, some people want to pay Google money, which I think is totally cool. Check out how you can do that through AdWords and how it all fits together by watching this overview by Jonathan Alferness and Scott Huffman. Both of them are VPs. You’ve been warned.
The Knowledge Graph
I have to admit that the Knowledge Graph is one of the coolest projects I got to work on at Google. To learn more about it check out my post on Medium, but here’s a new feature we’re rolling out – video actions and reviews. My colleague Satyajeet Salgar gives a nice overview in the video below.
Putting it all together
As you have probably figured out by now, Google Search has a number of products and APIs available for developers. In this video, Vivan Lum puts it all together. Vivan gets bonus points for the demo, so pay attention, yo.
Now on Tap
My favorite new Search feature announced at I/O is Now on Tap. It offers contextual assistance and leverages the Assist API, which is new in Android M. To see it in action check out the I/O keynote demo by Aparna Chennapragada. Developers can integrate with Now on Tap by implementing App Indexing.