Google being Goolag - Play Asset / Feature Delivery
May be incomplete - expect rewrites, additions, & stuff
Last updated : 24/1/2022
What is Play Asset / Feature Delivery?
First, let's discuss Play Asset Delivery (PAD), since it's as straightforward as its name. PAD allows big games to replace expansion files (OBB) by uploading the entire game's resource to Google servers, downloading them as necessary.
As for Play Feature Delivery (PFD), it's basically a mechanism to allow features that were meant to be available from the beginning (such as reviews in a marketplace app) to be downloaded when required.
In short, both PAD & PFD are enforced tools for making apps dependent on Play Services, by removing essential assets & features that should have came with the app in the first place. This also means they are misguided tools to reduce app size.
Issues with Play Asset & Feature Delivery
- Both PAD & PFD has a heavy dependency on Google, essentially forcing the user to stay trapped in the Goolag ecosystem.
Goolag dependencies include, but not limited to :
- Actively running Play Store
- A Google account signed in on the PDA
- API bindings that is exclusively reserved for Play Store
- Both PAD & PFD causes apps (in the Play Store) to be delivered in an incomplete state, forcing the user to waste more time on downloading resources just to run them.
A good example of this would be Asphalt 8 - download & install game, open game, & get stuck at downloading resources. More examples are available below.
A (hopeful) fix for PAD & PFD
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- For app developers : Never implement these "features" in the first place. While these "features" could make development and/or distribution less troublesome, it places more burden on the users, who now has to waste more time on resources just to make an app run properly, right after having to download them.
4/1/2022 update : With Google demanding PAD & PFD anti-features to be present, I would also like to request app developers to provide a direct download for their apps, while also making them free of PAD & PFD. Of course, this means it is incompatible with Play Store versions, but it will be more usable OOTB.
- For users :
- Let's start with whether you are an active Play Store used or not, because if you are, you will be automatically exempt from all of these issues. However, we who reject using them are going to be subject to all of its issues.
- Generally, it's easier to say that we don't need the apps that depend on PAD & PFD, but as we might need some of them, let's hope what we need are available as a website, web app, and/or emulations of older platforms.
For yet another example on PAD, we have a game called Castlevania SotN. It offers a somewhat fun experience that can also be played offline, but until it has the necessary resources from PAD, your best bet to play it is probably with an emulator.
As for PFD : Tokopedia for Indonesians - as long as they don't have all PFD requirements granted, they will not be able to review a product they purchased, view a store's profile, or even something as simple as asking the merchant from the app. The short list I mentioned will unfortunately expand as the app "developers" add more PFD-exclusives, but at least Indonesians could still use the site (although they will miss out on some promotions).
- Users could always pester the developers to remove these requirements if they could. However, with Goolag demanding these to be present, users are better off demanding for direct downloads and/or mirrors with full features, along with a way to verify its authenticity (such as GPG signature).