This information will come in handy for Android app developers
The Play Store is at the heart of every Android phone, be it Google’s own Pixel 7 Pro or one of the leading budget phones on the market. As much as it is consumer-friendly, app developers on the platform have access to an equally versatile dashboard to micro-manage their apps. Google allowed app developers to list their security and privacy practices not too long ago, and it’s now looking to give them the ability to tell real users apart from bots.
One of the major announcements during the 2022 Google I/O was the Play Integrity API for app developers. As its name suggests, it identifies potentially harmful traffic and compromised devices. Google is pegging it as a replacement for the Play Store’s SafetyNet in the longer run. In the meantime, Google is giving the Play Integrity API some more responsibility to help developers pin down any malicious users.
Developer @linuxct came across a new AccountActivity field under the Play Integrity API (via Esper’s Mishaal Rahman). The API will rely on the users’ Play Store activity to put them in one of the six categories under this field: ACTIVITY_LEVEL_UNSPECIFIED, UNEVALUATED, UNUSUAL, UNKNOWN, TYPICAL_BASIC, and TYPICAL_STRONG.
This new identification system builds upon the API’s existing tools to tell developers if their apps are being installed by real users or if the traffic is coming from a non-genuine source like a bot farm. With the new information in hand, developers will be better equipped to take a call on how they want to deliver their apps and steer clear of certain suspected types of accounts.
There is no mention of this AccountActivity field in the official documentation, so it’s naturally not available for the developers right now. But considering Google has been adding new features to the Play Integrity API lately, the new field shouldn’t take long to go live, as the company moves to deprecate SafetyNet in favor of the new API.
While surely a helpful tool for Android app developers, this isn’t going to change anything on the user’s end. But Google is working on a more user-facing feature using the same API to better identify the quality of the apps on the Play Store and deliver high-quality app recommendations, which is always welcome.