Google Expands Android 'Early Access' Beta Program

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It can be difficult for app developers to get feedback on their creations, so Google this year launched an Early Access beta program that let Android users try out pre-release apps and submit their thoughts. The success of that early test run has now convinced Google to expand Early Access to even more developers.

In its first month, nearly 30 Early Access open beta titles were installed more than 1 million times—a boon for independent studios and start-ups that don't have the data-analysis tools typically available to larger companies.

"It was an immediate hit," Karolis Balciunas, Google Play partner manager, wrote in a blog post, adding that early adopters were "eager and willing" to send "objective and candid" feedback.

Google handpicked developers during the initial rollout, but it's now inviting anyone to nominate their apps for inclusion. New titles will be added to the Play store weekly.

Android owners can visit the Google Play Store and look for the link to "early access" at the end of the list featuring "top charts" and "games." Then simply find an app you're interested in, install, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Keep in mind, though, that early access space may be limited. To see a list of unreleased apps you've downloaded, navigate through the menu to "My apps and games" then "Beta."

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