The tech giant Google has just announced that it has rolled out a new delta algorithm, bsdiff, to reduce Android app update size up to 50% or more compared to the previous algorithm. “Bsdiff is specifically targeted to produce more efficient deltas of native libraries by taking advantage of the specific ways in which compiled native code changes between versions,” said Google in their developers blog.

"Google Play logo 2016"

Many smartphone users are sensitive to the amount of data they use, especially when Wi-Fi is not available. Google is thus trying to reduce the data required for Google Play app installs and updates, as well as make data cost more clearer to users.

bsdiff produces binary patches 50-80% smaller than those produced by Xdelta, and 15% smaller than those produced by .RTPatch. Here is an example from Google to show the size difference before and after the Bsdiff algorithm.

Patch DescriptionPrevious patch sizeBsdiff Size
M46 to M47 major update22.8 MB12.9 MB
M47 minor update15.3 MB3.6 MB

Google has also expanded delta and compression algorithms so that developers can apply the algorithm to APK Expansion Files (up to 2GB in size) to further reduce update size in addition to APKs. According to Google, this will reduce the download size of initial installs by 12% and updates by 65% on average.

"Google Play Store App Download and Update size"

Google will now show you the actual update size, not the full APK file size in the Play Store, if the app is already installed. These new changes are currently rolling out.

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