Google replaces APK files with AAB for new apps on Play Store



Google announced in an article on the Android Developers Blog that it will change the format that developers use to publish their apps on the Play Store starting next August 2021.
Developers who want to publish their apps for the first time on the Google Play Store will have to package them in the new AAB (Android App Bundle) format that the company announced at its developer conference I/O in May 2018, instead of the APK format.
Existing developers who already own apps in the Play Store will not be affected by this decision for the time being at least, and will be able to continue to export their apps in the traditional APK format.
The new Google packaging format offers many advantages to average users and developers alike, as it enables developers to make applications smaller by about 15 percent on average compared to universal APK files, which means smaller download size and less installation space for users, especially those who have devices with relatively small storage space.
More than a million apps use the new app bundles format according to Google, including the majority of the top 1,000 apps and games on Google Play such as Adobe, Duolingo, Gameloft, Netflix, redBus, Riafy, and Twitter.
However, AAB packages are not supported and do not work in third-party stores, and developers who want to publish their apps in them will have to export them in APK format, which will force them to export their work in two different formats (AAB and APK) instead of just one.
However, this is a very good thing, especially for users. The process of building AAB applications is done entirely in the cloud, which requires developers to send the app signing key to the store owner, and if someone gains access to this key, they will be able to modify the applications as they want and redistribute them as coming directly from the real developer of the app, which is disastrous if it happens. And assuming that Google will be able to keep these keys secure and or won't make developer-behind modifications to apps, no one can guarantee that this won't happen in third-party stores.
Some believe that Google's move is not innocent and that it seeks to make Android applications exclusively available in its Play store app to prevent their use in third-party stores such as Huawei's App Gallery and Amazon's application store, which Microsoft will rely on to bring Android application support to Windows 11.
What do you think of this Google move? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.
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