Google Play Store Shrinks Size Of Updates By 50 Percent — New Algorithm Reduces Data Required To Download, Update Apps And Games

Google has made changes to the algorithm to its Play Store to ensure the size of updates doesn’t stretch your mobile data to its limits. The new revision has almost halved the data required to update the apps on the Play Store, claims the maker of Android smartphone operating system.

The amount of data required to update all the apps installed on your Android smartphone was always a troubling issue, especially if you had to rely on tightly constrained and expensive mobile data. However, Google has come to the rescue of those who can’t connect to a WiFi hotspot regularly to update their many apps. The company announced a new update to the Play Store algorithm that significantly cuts down the amount of data required to update the apps.

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Google has rolled out a new update to the “Delta” update system, which the company prefers to call “Bsdiff.” Essentially, the update reduces the app update size and lets you save on the data required for updating them. The algorithm applies to nearly 98 percent of the apps currently offered on Play Store, noted the company in a blog post,

“For approximately 98 percent of app updates from the Play Store, only changes (deltas) to APK files are downloaded and merged with the existing files, reducing the size of updates. We recently rolled out a delta algorithm, bsdiff that further reduces patches by up to 50 percent or more compared to the previous algorithm. Bsdiff is specifically targeted to produce more efficient deltas of native libraries by taking advantage of the specific ways in which compiled native code changes between versions. To be most effective, native libraries should be stored uncompressed (compression interferes with delta algorithms).”

How has Google managed to shrink the size of updates? Henceforth, the app updates only pertain to the delta changes between the existing app and the update. In simple words, the updates to be downloaded will only contain the incremental update package and the entire APK. Once downloaded, it will be merged with the existing files of the app that’s installed on the smartphone. Essentially, the new Bsdiff algorithm analyzes the difference between the installed components and the updated components available in the new APK, eventually delivering only the different data to the user, reported Neowin.

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Google claims by changing the way the updates are packaged and delivered, it has shrunk their size by a good 50 percent. It appears Google has successfully adopted the “Patch” method and ditched the earlier method, which essentially consisted of the user having to download the entire app just to get the update. The search giant cites the example of Google Chrome, a popular web browser from the company’s own stables. The major update between M46 to M47 was previously 22.9MB, now it is 12.9MB, reported Digit.

Besides shrinking the updates to nearly half their earlier size, Google Play Store is also becoming more transparent with the data that will be eaten during the update. Android app users will now be shown the actual download size. Earlier, the Play Store showed just the APK file size, which was very misleading. Additionally, if the user already has the app or game installed, hitting their respective pages in the Play Store will offer you only the update size.

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Needless to add, those restricted on cellular data, will now get a much clearer picture about the data that will be required to update the apps and games on the phone. Such users can now choose to update their apps or games right away, if the size of the update is small. If not, they can wait till they latch on to a WiFi hotspot.

Developers working on Android apps have been advised to leave native libraries uncompressed in their apps. The Bsdiff algorithm applies to APK app files to allow users to include additional large files of up to 2GB in size with their apps, reported Android Authority. In essence, the initial download sizes will now be about 12 percent smaller, but, the incremental updates will be 65 percent smaller, which should be a great news to Android smartphone users who don’t have access to a decent WiFi connection.

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