NIXSolutions: Google’s Engage SDK Revolutionizes Android App Promotion

Google has unveiled a new strategy to promote Android apps outside of the Play Store, introduced at the Google I/O 2024 developer conference. The company aims to engage users with apps already installed on their devices and new ones by giving developers a unique platform to showcase their content. Over 35 developer partners, including Spotify, Pinterest, Tumblr, TikTok, and Shopify, are currently testing this new offering.


During the developer session at I/O, Google provided more details about the new SDK, highlighting its potential to help the company connect the right audience to the right content at the right time. Developers integrating with the Engage SDK (currently invite-only) will be able to bring users back to their apps by showcasing interesting content, promotions, and offers.

Innovative User Experiences with Engage Surface

“This new surface will automatically organize the best and most common content from the apps users already have installed on their Android phones, ensuring the journey continues between apps for almost every category,” explained Mecca Okereke, Head of Apps at Google Play, during the developer briefing at I/O. “With the touch of a button, users can launch full-screen, immersive experiences that highlight and organize the most important content from their installed apps.”

The mention of a full-screen, immersive experience suggests something akin to a TikTok feed, although Google has not yet fully detailed this new “surface.” We know it will be exclusive to Android devices, showcasing how Google leverages its mobile OS integration to create new experiences benefiting both developers and consumers.

This Engage Surface will allow developers to offer deep links that open specific pages within their mobile apps. For example, Google demonstrated a series of widgets that, when clicked, take users to a specific task within the app. Clicking on an image of sneakers, for instance, directs an Android user to a shopping page in the app to complete their purchase, possibly with a prompt to buy items saved in their cart. These sneakers were featured within a “surface” that included other products available for purchase across different apps. Instead of widgets dedicated to a single app, the new surface appears to group content from similar apps, enticing users to complete their journey.

Companies like Reddit, Uber Eats, and Spotify can also use the surface to help users return to specific experiences within those apps, such as reading and upvoting posts, listening to playlists, or placing an order. Spotify is still developing its experience and determining how to use the SDK, but plans to implement the Engage SDK on all Android devices.

Developer and Consumer Benefits

As Okereke explained, developers will be able to bring users back to their entertainment offerings, surf the web, reorder their favorites, or interact with any other app. Tumblr, for example, is partnering with Google to offer users more content related to their interests. “The Google Engage SDK is a great fit for Tumblr because our community is unique in how it expresses itself. Tumblr’s ‘yes-and’ culture creates an atmosphere that has spawned some of the internet’s greatest memes and trends,” says Tumblr COO Zandy Ring. “We’re excited to bring that culture into other spaces and invite that audience back to Tumblr. Integrating with Engage is like opening a two-lane highway that will connect communities naturally.”

A consumer-facing feature will remind users of their desired actions in the app and nudge them with lucrative offers. “You can show personalized recommendations and promotions, ensuring that users discover content they might otherwise miss,” says Okereke. Additionally, Surface will recommend apps that users haven’t yet installed using “compelling content” from those apps.

The Engage SDK developer preview began at I/O, but the consumer experience won’t launch until later this year, adds NIXSolutions. The Engage SDK is a client-side integration using an on-device API. Google reports that developers found it took less than a week to get started.

Applications participating in Engage SDK testing include Audible, Shein, Dunkin, Wish, Blinklist, Wattpad, Nextdoor, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Rakuten Kobo, Temu, YouTube Music, Google Maps, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Prime Video, Reddit, YouTube, Uber Eats, and others. As we receive more updates, we’ll keep you informed on this exciting development.