I have noted recently that Google Play is not reporting updates for some apps even after a day.
This never happened before, and either it is an effort by Google to spread out updates to reduce burden on their servers.
It would be interesting if some apps never have updates sent out - and this would account for apps getting a low number of updates in Google Play statistics (if a lot of users never get are informed about updates).
Ok, you can reproduce the lack of update button in Google Play for your app - by first installing an unsigned APK to your device (for example if you are developing and using Eclipse to directly install app to your device). Then upload a signed version of the app with a NEWER version number to Google Play.
You will see that even though you have an earlier version of the app on your device (albeit one that is unsigned), you will NOT be prompted by Google Play to update to the newer (signed) official version now available on Google Play.
Earlier this did not happen i.e. regardless of the signed/unsigned nature of currently installed app on your device, Google Play would show the update button.
Either their algorithms have changed, or it may be because I signed up for Merchant Account recently - perhaps the algorithms are different for that.
But it would seem that the better approach would have been to always show the update button (even if user has an unsigned version of the app).
Does your observation has anything to do that google play is now doing manual vetting of apps update? Or it is still half-automatic, half-manual?
That could be the case. But as I said in above post - when I replaced the unsigned APK version with a signed APK version (one that was posted to Google Play earlier) - then the device was able to see an update button for the newer version on Google Play.
This suggests that Google Play app may now be doing not just package name comparison (to know if an app is already installed) - but also signature verification - so it will not suggest you update a beta unsigned version for example on your device.
Previously it did not matter if the installed version was signed or unsigned - i.e. only package name was being looked at by Google Play app.
It could be that this change is related to my signing up for Merchant Center - it could be that Google does a harsher comparison for paid app developers so that now it verifies signatures as well. Or it could be a general change for everyone.
Maybe someone else can confirm something like this - by installing an unsigned APK with an earlier version number on their device - and then see if the Google Play app shows an update is available (if Google Play version is newer version).
Is this the first time you start to publish paid apps? I would think could the verification process for paid and free apps be a bit different? For paid, they enforce stricter check since it is paid, they do not want users to buy one copy and distribute to all their friends and others for use in their each Android phones?
This is an earlier app and is free without in-app payment etc… I meant that as a developer I had just signed up for the Merchant Center recently in preparation for a possible paid app later.
So I was conjecturing that maybe by being labelled as a paid app developer - all the apps now are under a different scrutiny/regime - so now their signatures are relevant to Google Play app now as well (?)
Or it could just be a new way for Google Play to verify the current installed app on your device.