You're getting ready to publish your Android app to the Google Play Store when you're confronted with some choices. Is the app being published for Internal, Closed, or Open Testing? Well, what's the difference and does it even matter? If you release to the wrong test track, you can be met with some serious limits or major hurdles if it's the wrong track. Let's talk about the three distinct testing tracks of the Google Play Store and how they cater to various testing needs and stages of development.
What is Internal Testing?
Internal testing is designed for initial quality assurance checks and to quickly distribute your app to a limited group of up to 100 testers. This track is ideal for testing early versions of your app with a small group of trusted colleagues or team members. This testing can commonly be referred to as alpha testing, internal beta testing, or dogfooding.
Internal testing is recommended before releasing your app on the Closed or Open testing tracks. If needed, you can run internal tests concurrently with closed and open tests for different versions of your app.
What is Closed Testing?
Closed testing allows you to test pre-release versions of your app with a wider set of testers to gather more targeted feedback. This track is useful for testing your app with a selected group of users or Google Groups, enabling you to maintain control over who can access the app during the testing phase. This testing goes by other names like user acceptance testing, beta testing, and user trials.
For optimal flow, releasing to Closed Testing or beta is recommended after the beta readiness check that determines that major defects or gaps have been resolved from internal testing.
What is Open Testing?
Open testing is designed to run a test with a large group of users and make your app's test version discoverable on Google Play. This track allows you to receive feedback from a broader audience without any limitations on the number of testers.
When using the Open Testing track, anyone can join your testing program and submit private feedback to you. Before opting for Open Testing, ensure that your app and store listing are ready to be visible on Google Play. Keep in mind that while your app is in open testing, it will not receive public ratings or reviews. This is commonly referred to as public beta testing or open beta.
By understanding the different testing tracks available on the Google Play Store, you can strategically plan your app's beta testing process to ensure the most effective feedback and improvements before releasing it to the general public.
Want to learn about more user tests? Check out our resource The Definitive Guide to Delta Testing.