Back in June, Google started adding security metadata to an app's APK Signing Block in order to verify its authenticity during offline installations. The company stated that this would pave the way for secure offline peer-to-peer (P2P) installations in the future.
True to its word, the firm has now announced that it is kicking off its beta program for Google Play-approved P2P installations.
Support for secure P2P offline installations has been introduced keeping in mind developing countries where there is limited internet connectivity, which is also expensive. In areas like these, P2P offline installation is the primary method for sharing apps and other content.
Now, Google will automatically check the metadata of the app being transferred, and upon successful verification, add it to the user's Play Library. When the device connects to the internet again, the transferred app will also be able to update.
The company says that:
This also benefits you as a developer as it provides a Play-authorized 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.
No effort is required from the developers or users in order to take advantage of secure P2P offline installations. Only apps which have APKs with the security metadata payload will be able to benefit from this feature.