Google I/O 2024 Highlights: AI & Google Play Updates

Simon Thillayby 
Head of ASO at AppTweak

7 min read

At Google I/O 2024, we saw a plethora of key announcements, especially focusing on AI and updates to Google Play.

In this blog, we will delve into the significant updates, focusing on four major areas:

  • Custom store listings by keyword
  • Engage SDK
  • App updates
  • New pricing features

These announcements hold great potential for app developers and marketers. Let’s explore each one in detail.

1. Custom store listings by keyword

One of the standout announcements at Google I/O 2024 was the introduction of custom store listings (CSLs) by keyword. This feature allows app developers and marketers to tailor their store listing based on specific search keywords, providing a more personalized and targeted user experience.

Key features

  • Customization flexibility: Unlike Apple’s CPPs for Search Ads, CSLs allow for more extensive modifications. Not only can you alter the creatives, but you can also adjust elements such as the app title and short description.
  • Broad impact: CSLs are applicable to both paid and organic search, offering broader reach than Apple Search Ads.
  • Google’s Gemini AI integration: Google has enhanced CSL generation capabilities by incorporating its Gemini AI, which can generate both short and long descriptions for your custom store listings.


  • Pre-generated keyword list: Currently, you can only target keywords that are included in a pre-generated list by Google. This list is based on keywords that have driven at least one store listing visitor in the past 30 days.
  • Data discrepancies: There have been reports of inconsistencies between the numbers observed in the pre-generated keyword list and those seen in the analytics section of the Google Play Console. This suggests that further refinement and understanding of the feature will be needed.

Impact on ASO

This development presents significant opportunities for ASO professionals. The ability to create customized listings tailored specifically to how users search for apps means ASO marketers can create more effective and relevant listings. This change is expected to spark considerable activity as marketers evaluate which keywords to target with CSLs.

2. Engage SDK

Another significant announcement at Google I/O 2024 was the introduction of Google’s Engage SDK. This new software development kit, designed for Android apps, focuses on indexing in-app content and monitoring user engagement to improve recommendations in the Play Store.

Key features

  • Content indexing: The Engage SDK indexes content within apps, allowing for more precise content recommendations in the Play Store.
  • User engagement monitoring: By tracking how users interact with app content, the SDK provides insights that can be leveraged for tailored recommendations.
  • Improved Play Store experience: Although details were sparse, there have been indications of a new user interface in the Play Store, reportedly called “Cubes.” This UI may feature a new tab dedicated to recommending content and products based on user engagement within apps.

Implications for app developers

  • Enhanced discoverability: Apps using the Engage SDK could see increased visibility in the Play Store, thanks to personalized recommendations driven by user engagement metrics.
  • In-app content promotion: The SDK’s ability to index and monitor content could lead to new promotional opportunities within the Play Store, potentially boosting in-app purchases and user retention.
  • Broader reach: Recommendations may not be limited to installed apps; they might also include apps not yet downloaded but deemed relevant based on the user’s engagement with similar content.

3. App updates

An important update from Google I/O 2024 pertains to app update functionalities, which hold significant implications for both developers and users.

Key changes

  • Automatic updates without Wi-Fi: Google has announced that automatic updates will no longer require a Wi-Fi connection to execute. This change ensures users can receive the latest updates promptly, regardless of their internet connection type, enhancing the overall user experience by making sure apps are always up-to-date with the latest features and security patches.

Discover why Google favors apps that prioritize Android vitals to enhance technical quality.

  • Update prompts in Google Play console: Another notable enhancement is the introduction of a new feature in the Google Play Console. Developers can now build and trigger prompts specifically targeted at users who are still on older versions of their app. This call-to-action encourages users to upgrade to the latest version, ensuring they benefit from the newest features, improvements, and security updates.

Implications for app developers & users

  • Improved update adoption: By removing the Wi-Fi requirement for automatic updates, developers may see faster adoption rates for new releases, ensuring a more uniform user base.
  • Targeted update messaging: The ability to prompt users directly from the Google Play Console helps developers manage app versions more effectively, reducing fragmentation and improving user satisfaction by promoting the use of the most current app version.
  • Enhanced user experience: Users benefit from timely updates without needing to wait for a Wi-Fi connection, ensuring they continue to have access to the best possible app performance and features.
  • Proactive communication: Targeted update prompts keep users informed and encourage them to stay current, leading to a more engaged and satisfied user base.

4. Pricing & monetization

The final set of announcements from Google I/O 2024 focuses on pricing and billing enhancements in Google Play, aimed at addressing the diverse needs of global markets and improving app monetization strategies.

  • Expanded billing methods: Google has introduced additional billing methods to Google Play Billing, with notable inclusions being PIX in Brazil and UPI in India. These regions are experiencing rapid growth in the app economy, and the introduction of new payment options is particularly significant in markets where credit cards are less prevalent. By offering popular local payment methods, Google aims to facilitate easier transactions, thereby boosting app monetization efforts in these key territories.
  • Automatic price adjustments: To further simplify monetization for developers, Google is implementing an automatic price adjustment feature. This tool allows in-app purchase prices to be automatically adjusted to reflect currency variations, reducing the need for manual adjustments and helping to prevent potential arbitrage issues. This ensures that pricing remains competitive and fair across different regions without requiring constant oversight from developers.
  • New payment assistance feature: To enhance user convenience, Google is rolling out a test program exclusively in India. This feature allows Google Play users to request payment assistance from another individual, even if they do not belong to the same family account. This can be particularly useful in scenarios where subscribers share monetized products, such as streaming services. For apps with shared user bases, this feature could offer a significant advantage by ensuring seamless access to paid content, regardless of who makes the purchase.

Implications for app developers

  • Improved market penetration: The addition of PIX and UPI payment methods can significantly improve market penetration in Brazil and India, respectively, by accommodating users’ preferred payment options.
  • Streamlined monetization: Automatic price adjustments help developers manage international pricing more efficiently, ensuring revenue stability despite currency fluctuations.
  • User convenience: The new payment assistance feature can improve user satisfaction by offering flexible payment options, potentially increasing subscription rates and reducing churn for apps with shared services.

Looking ahead

Google I/O 2023 brought several exciting updates for the Play Store, focusing on improving app visibility, user engagement, update processes, and monetization methods. These changes would provide developers with new tools to enhance their app offerings and reach a broader audience. As these features roll out, it will be interesting to see how they shape the future of app development and marketing on Google Play.

Simon Thillay
by , Head of ASO at AppTweak
Simon is Head of ASO at AppTweak, helping apps boost their visibility and downloads. He's passionate about new technologies, growth organizations, and inline speed skating.