When Google merged the still relatively fledgling Android Market, Google Music and Google eBookstore in 2012, they probably must not have imagined the scale the platform would achieve 10 years later. Google Play now has 2.5 billion active users globally, with India assuming critical importance in this time.
Google’s data suggests that there has been a 200% increase in active monthly users in 2021, especially for apps and games published by Indian developers, compared to 2019. The consumer spend in this time has also grown 80%; this will relate to paid app purchases, in-app purchases and subscriptions. Even outside India, Indian apps and games have seen a 150% increase, for the time spent metric.
“India has transformed into an app-first country in the past decade, consistently emerging as one of the top downloaders for apps and games across the world,” said Aditya Swamy, director of Play Partnerships at Google, in a statement shared with HT.
The present portfolio of Google Play includes content such as the Play Store for app downloads, Google Photos, Google TV for video streaming and the Play Pass subscription service, which was launched in India earlier this year.
The global active users figure of 2.5 billion links with active Android phone users alongside other devices and services, including Android TV and Google TV for smart TVs, Android tablets, Wear OS smartwatches, smart speaker products (including Nest Audio line) and the Nest security camera solutions, recently launched in the country.
“India has crossed a major milestone of 100 unicorns, and it’s phenomenal to see a significant portion of these as businesses powered by apps,” Swamy added. Google points to Ludo King as one of the first Indian games to cross the 500 million downloads mark.
An important element of Google Play is the Play Protect security service, which was first introduced in 2017 for all Android devices. The Play Protect service scans 125 billion devices every day, to check for malware or malicious apps in users’ devices.
Earlier in 2022, Google updated the Play logo after several years.
Google also talks about India-specific initiatives this time. In 2018, the Google Play Academy was launched in the country – this is a self-learning platform for developers, build, publish and scale apps. This has trained more than 80,000 developers in India since its inception. Simultaneously, Indie Games Accelerator and Google for Startups Accelerator programs have attempted to provide startups and gaming studios with access to specific curriculum and mentoring.
Earlier this year, Google launched the Appscale Academy with the Startup Hub of the Union ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY). Of the 100 startups that were chosen, 35% were based in Tier 2 or Tier 3 towns, while 58% had woman leaders.
“We remain committed to building a local and helpful Play for India,” Swamy said, adding, “We want to help every developer with an idea to capitalise on the potential to reach 2.5 billion monthly active users and 190 countries with Google Play. India is today uniquely positioned to become a leading hub for global app innovation and there is tremendous potential for Indian startups across the country.”
The focus has now turned to the recently announced initiatives, the Google Startup School India, which will attempt to help as many as 10,000 startups in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, as well as the Google for Startups Accelerator – India Women Founders, which will provide a platform for women founders in India.