Testing out beta apps is often a great way to get your hands on new features before they’re ready for prime time. But the process to manage that access has always been kind of a pain.
Google hopes to fix this with version 6.7 of the Play Store, which is rolling out now for Android phones and tablets. You'll be able to join beta apps directly from Google Play, which was previously something you had to do on the web by tracking down the beta link or navigating through Google+. Once joining a Google+ beta group, beta apps could be distributed through the Play Store.
A change to the Play Store app will allow you to join beta tests directly. You'll be able to sign up, leave a program, and also see if your signup for a new beta version has been approved. There’s also a spot to leave feedback to developers, which will help developers get more timely information during testing.
The feature was live briefly this morning, but a server-side switch seems to have disabled it. Google will probably officially announce, and enable, the improved beta testing feature during the Google I/O developer conference this week.
The new version of the Play Store is rolling out now, but you can grab it right away if you want from APK Mirror.
The impact on you: If you like to dabble in the world of beta Android apps, this significantly improves the experience. Many of the best third-party apps have opted to launch a beta version in order to get feedback and test out new features. It’s fun to check it out if you don’t mind a few bugs along the way, and now you can do so without the headache of managing your access.