Updates are a pain to download. There are so many of them that it’s tiresome. On top of that they’re activated in the background and mess up your internet connection while you’re watching videos or gaming. Google is doing something to relieve that pain. It’s not removing your pain however, it’s just giving you an aspirin.
The Google Play Store introduced an algorithm that would make the matter of updates much simpler. The algorithm, called “bsdiff” reduces the total size of an update. It can do this for up to 50% or more. This means it’s either very good or complete trash at times. The update also covers expansion files that are downloaded on to a game after installation. It is said to reduce their sizes by 12% and 65% for updates. Again, this is relative. Also included is information on each app’s true download size. This doesn’t just show you the size of the APK, it shows you the size of the whole app and the installed file.
A demonstration of this was the size of two new updates to Chrome on Android. The updates included M46 (major update) and M47 (minor update). The former had a size of 22.8 MB and was reduced to 12.9 MB while the former had a size of 15.3 MB and was reduced to 3.6 MB. You can see the varying efficiency of the algorithm as well as its effectiveness.
The purpose of this algorithm is two things. First it’ll save storage on your phone, something that’s very important in today’s world. Bigger and bigger storage options are appearing on phones, a sign that we need more space to put our stuff. The second is, those with limited data plans may find it useful to download smaller files. It makes their data plan last longer so they stay on the internet longer. Hence Google can get more data from them. After all, that’s what it’s about isn’t it?
While 98% of the updates on the Play Store are just deltas downloaded to phones, there is always room to make room. The new algorithm “produces more efficient deltas of native libraries by taking advantage of the specific ways in which compiled native code changes between versions.”
The Play Store vs. The App Store
Apps on the Google Play Store have been downloaded 65 billion times as of last year. With 2.2 million apps on the Google Play Store as of June 2016, that means an average of 29000 downloads per app. Compared to the Apple Store, which has 2 million apps and 130 billion downloads as of last year, the Play Store leads in choice but falls behind in quality.
Take for example the recent scandal with fake Pokemon Go apps on the Play Store. You never heard those apps coming on to the App store did you? Now whether that was incompetence on the part of the staff or a fault in the programming, the fact remains that Apple would’ve never let that happen. Hence, security is why Apple’s app store is much more reliable and trusted than the Google Play Store.