Google has been working on making peer-to-peer sharing of apps more secure for users for a while now. In June this year, the tech giant has started adding security metadata to APKs to help with app authenticity, especially important in areas where APKs are transferred peer-to-peer. With the new update, now when users share apps via Play-approved partner P2P apps, Google Play will determine shared app authenticity while a device is offline. It will then add the shared apps to a user's Play Library and also manage app updates when the device comes back online.
James Bender, Product Manager, Google Play, in a post on Android Developers Blog, says, "This will give users more confidence when using Play-approved peer-to-peer app beta partners." As mentioned, Google Play will now be able to determine the authenticity of apps distributed via P2P even when a device has no Internet connectivity. Once it comes back online, the shared apps will be automatically added to the device user's Play Library and be available for app updates.
Notably, the new feature has rolled out to the SHAREIt app and will be coming soon to Google's Files Go client and third-party app Xender. You will have to go to Google Play to make sure you have the latest versions of these apps.
Google says that the new feature will also benefit developers as it provides a Play-authorised offline distribution channel and, since the peer-to-peer shared app is added to your user's Play library, your app will now be eligible for app updates from Play. Bender says that the offline Google Play peer-to-peer sharing essentially brings a new distribution opportunity for developers while helping more people keep their apps up to date. "No action is needed by developers or your users. This is an important step that improves the integrity of Google Play's mobile app ecosystem," he adds in the blog post.