Engage SDK Social: Third-party technical integration instructions

Google is building an on-device surface that organizes users' apps by verticals and enables a new immersive experience for personalized app content consumption and discovery. This full screen experience provides developer partners an opportunity to showcase their best rich content in a dedicated channel outside of their app.

This document contains instructions for developer partners to integrate their social content using the Engage SDK to populate this new surface area.

Integration detail

The following section captures the integration detail.

Terminology

Recommendation clusters show personalized suggestions from an individual developer partner.

Your recommendations take the following structure:

Recommendation Cluster: UI view that contains a group of recommendations from the same developer partner.

Each Recommendation Cluster consists of one of the following two types of entities :

  • PortraitMediaEntity
  • SocialPostEntity

PortraitMediaEntity must contain 1 portrait image for the post. Profile and Interaction related metadata are optional.

  • Post

    • Image in portrait mode and Timestamp, or
    • Image in portrait mode + text content and Timestamp
  • Profile

    • Avatar, Name or Handle, Additional image
  • Interaction

    • Count and label only, or
    • Count and visual (icon)

SocialPostEntity contains profile, post and interaction related metadata.

  • Profile

    • Avatar, Name or Handle, additional text, additional image
  • Post

    • Text and Timestamp, or
    • Rich media (image or rich URL) and Timestamp, or
    • Text and rich media (image or rich URL) and Timestamp
  • Interactions

    • Count & label only, or
    • Count & visual (icon)

Pre-work

Minimum API level: 19

Add the com.google.android.play:engage library to your app:

dependencies {
    // Make sure you also include that repository in your project's build.gradle file.
    implementation 'com.google.android.engage:engage-core:1.4.0'
}

Summary

The design is based on an implementation of a bound service.

The data a client can publish is subject to the following limits for different cluster types:

Cluster type Cluster limits Minimum entity limits in a cluster Maximum entity limits in a cluster
Recommendation Cluster(s) At most 5 At least 5 (PortraitMediaEntity, or SocialPostEntity) At most 25 (PortraitMediaEntity, or SocialPostEntity)

Step 1: Provide entity data

The SDK has defined different entities to represent each item type. The SDK supports the following entities for the Social category:

  1. PortraitMediaEntity
  2. SocialPostEntity

The charts below outline available attributes and requirements for each type.

PortraitMediaEntity

Attribute Requirement Description Format
Action URI Required

Deep Link to the entity in the provider app.

Note: You can use deep links for attribution. Refer to this FAQ

URI
Post related metadata (Required)
Image(s) Required

Image(s) should be in portrait aspect ratio.

The UI may show only 1 image when multiple images are provided. However, the UI may provide visual indication that there are more images in the app.

If the post is a video, the provider should provide a thumbnail of the video to be shown as an image.

See Image Specifications for guidance.
Text content Optional The main text of a post, update, etc. String (recommended max 140 chars)
Timestamp Optional Time when the post was published. Epoch timestamp in milliseconds
Profile related metadata (Optional)
Name Required Profile name or id or handle, eg "John Doe", "@TeamPixel" String(recommended max 25 chars)
Avatar Required

Profile picture or avatar image of the user.

Square 1:1 image

See Image Specifications for guidance.
Additional Image Optional

Profile badge. for example - verified badge

Square 1:1 image

See Image Specifications for guidance.
Interactions related metadata (Optional)
Count Required Indicate the number of interactions, for example - "3.7 M." String (recommended max 20 chars for count + label combined)
Label

Optional

If not provided, Visual must be provided.

Indicate what the interaction is for.e.g. "Likes." String (recommended max 20 chars for count + label combined)
Visual

Optional

If not provided, Label must be provided.

Indicate what the interaction is for. For example - Image showing Likes icon, Emojis.

Can provide more than 1 image, though not all may not be shown on all form factors.

Square 1:1 image

See Image Specifications for guidance.
DisplayTimeWindow (Optional) - Set a time window for a content to be shown on the surface
Start Timestamp Optional

The epoch timestamp after which the content should be shown on the surface.

If not set, content is eligible to be shown on the surface.

Epoch timestamp in milliseconds
End Timestamp Optional

The epoch timestamp after which the content is no longer be shown on the surface.

If not set, content is eligible to be shown on the surface.

Epoch timestamp in milliseconds

SocialPostEntity

Attribute Requirement Description Format
Action URI Required

Deep Link to the entity in the provider app.

Note: You can use deep links for attribution. Refer to this FAQ

URI

Post related metadata (Required)

At least one of TextContent, Image or WebContent is required

Image(s) Optional

Image(s) should be in portrait aspect ratio.

The UI may show only 1 image when multiple images are provided. However, the UI may provide visual indication that there are more images in the app.

If the post is a video, the provider should provide a thumbnail of the video to be shown as an image.

See Image Specifications for guidance.
Text content Optional The main text of a post, update, etc. String (recommended max 140 chars)
Link Preview (Optional)
Link Preview - Title Required Text to indicate the title of the web page content String
Link Preview - Hostname Required Text to indicate the web page owner, eg "INSIDER" String
Link Preview - Image Optional Hero image for the web content See Image Specifications for guidance.
Timestamp Optional Time when the post was published. Epoch timestamp in milliseconds
Profile related metadata (Optional)
Name Required Profile name or id or handle, eg "John Doe", "@TeamPixel." String(recommended max 25 chars)
Additional Text Optional

Could be used as profile id or handle or additional metadata

For example "@John-Doe", "5M followers", "You might like", "Trending","5 new posts"

String(recommended max 40 chars)
Avatar Required

Profile picture or avatar image of the user.

Square 1:1 image

See Image Specifications for guidance.
Additional Image Optional

Profile badge, for example - verified badge

Square 1:1 image

See Image Specifications for guidance.
Interactions related metadata (Optional)
Count Required Indicate the number of interactions, for example - "3.7 M." String (recommended max 20 chars for count + label combined)
Label

Optional

If not provided, Visual must be provided.

Indicate what the interaction is for. For example - "Likes." String (recommended max 20 chars for count + label combined)
Visual

Optional

If not provided, Label must be provided.

Indicate what the interaction is for. For example - Image showing Likes icon, Emojis .

Can provide more than 1 image, though not all may not be shown on all form factors.

Square 1:1 image

See Image Specifications for guidance.
DisplayTimeWindow (Optional) - Set a time window for a content to be shown on the surface
Start Timestamp Optional

The epoch timestamp after which the content should be shown on the surface.

If not set, content is eligible to be shown on the surface.

Epoch timestamp in milliseconds
End Timestamp Optional

The epoch timestamp after which the content is no longer be shown on the surface.

If not set, content is eligible to be shown on the surface.

Epoch timestamp in milliseconds

Image specifications

The images are required to be hosted on public CDNs so that Google can access them.

File formats

PNG, JPG, static GIF, WebP

Maximum file size

5120 KB

Additional recommendations

  • Image safe area: Put your important content in the center 80% of the image.
  • Use a transparent background so that the image can be properly displayed in Dark and Light theme settings.

Step 2: Provide Cluster data

It is recommended to have the content publish job executed in the background (for example, using WorkManager) and scheduled on a regular basis or on an event basis (for example, every time the user opens the app or when the user just followed a new account)

AppEngageSocialClient is responsible for publishing social clusters.

There are following APIs to publish clusters in the client:

  • isServiceAvailable
  • publishRecommendationClusters
  • publishUserAccountManagementRequest
  • updatePublishStatus
  • deleteRecommendationsClusters
  • deleteUserManagementCluster
  • deleteClusters

isServiceAvailable

This API is used to check if the service is available for integration and whether the content can be presented on the device.

Kotlin


client.isServiceAvailable.addOnCompleteListener { task ->
    if (task.isSuccessful) {
        // Handle IPC call success
        if(task.result) {
          // Service is available on the device, proceed with content
          // publish calls.
        } else {
          // Service is not available, no further action is needed.
        }
    } else {
      // The IPC call itself fails, proceed with error handling logic here,
      // such as retry.
    }
}

Java


client.isServiceAvailable().addOnCompleteListener(task - > {
    if (task.isSuccessful()) {
        // Handle success
        if(task.getResult()) {
          // Service is available on the device, proceed with content
          // publish calls.
        } else {
          // Service is not available, no further action is needed.
        }
    } else {
      // The IPC call itself fails, proceed with error handling logic here,
      // such as retry.
    }
});

publishRecommendationClusters

This API is used to publish a list RecommendationCluster objects.

A RecommendationCluster object can have the following attributes:

Attribute Requirement Description
List of SocialPostEntity, or PortraitMediaEntity Required A list of entities that make up the recommendations for this Recommendation Cluster. Entities in a single cluster must be of the same type.
Title Required

The title for the Recommendation Cluster (for example, Latest from your friends).

Recommended text size: under 25 chars (Text that is too long may show ellipses)

Action Uri Optional

The deep link to the page in the partner app where users can see the complete list of recommendations.

Note: You can use deep links for attribution. Refer to this FAQ

Kotlin


client.publishRecommendationClusters(
            PublishRecommendationClustersRequest.Builder()
                .addRecommendationCluster(
                    RecommendationCluster.Builder()
                        .addEntity(entity1)
                        .addEntity(entity2)
                        .setTitle("Latest from your friends")
                        .build())
                .build())

Java


client.publishRecommendationClusters(
            new PublishRecommendationClustersRequest.Builder()
                .addRecommendationCluster(
                    new RecommendationCluster.Builder()
                        .addEntity(entity1)
                        .addEntity(entity2)
                        .setTitle("Latest from your friends")
                        .build())
                .build());

When the service receives the request, the following actions take place within one transaction:

  • All existing Recommendation Cluster data is removed.
  • Data from the request is parsed and stored in new Recommendation Clusters.

In case of an error, the entire request is rejected and the existing state is maintained.

publishUserAccountManagementRequest

This API is used to publish a Sign In card . The signin action directs users to the app's sign in page so that the app can publish content (or provide more personalized content)

The following metadata is part of the Sign In Card -

Attribute Requirement Description
Action Uri Required Deeplink to Action (i.e. navigates to app sign in page)
Image Optional - If not provided, Title must be provided

Image Shown on the Card

16x9 aspect ratio images with a resolution of 1264x712

Title Optional - If not provided, Image must be provided Title on the Card
Action Text Optional Text Shown on the CTA (i.e. Sign in)
Subtitle Optional Optional Subtitle on the Card

Kotlin


var SIGN_IN_CARD_ENTITY =
      SignInCardEntity.Builder()
          .addPosterImage(
              Image.Builder()
                  .setImageUri(Uri.parse("http://www.x.com/image.png"))
                  .setImageHeightInPixel(500)
                  .setImageWidthInPixel(500)
                  .build())
          .setActionText("Sign In")
          .setActionUri(Uri.parse("http://xx.com/signin"))
          .build()

client.publishUserAccountManagementRequest(
            PublishUserAccountManagementRequest.Builder()
                .setSignInCardEntity(SIGN_IN_CARD_ENTITY)
                .build());

Java


SignInCardEntity SIGN_IN_CARD_ENTITY =
      new SignInCardEntity.Builder()
          .addPosterImage(
              new Image.Builder()
                  .setImageUri(Uri.parse("http://www.x.com/image.png"))
                  .setImageHeightInPixel(500)
                  .setImageWidthInPixel(500)
                  .build())
          .setActionText("Sign In")
          .setActionUri(Uri.parse("http://xx.com/signin"))
          .build();

client.publishUserAccountManagementRequest(
            new PublishUserAccountManagementRequest.Builder()
                .setSignInCardEntity(SIGN_IN_CARD_ENTITY)
                .build());

When the service receives the request, the following actions take place within one transaction:

  • Existing UserAccountManagementCluster data from the developer partner is removed.
  • Data from the request is parsed and stored in the updated UserAccountManagementCluster Cluster.

In case of an error, the entire request is rejected and the existing state is maintained.

updatePublishStatus

If for any internal business reason, none of the clusters is published, we strongly recommend updating the publish status using the updatePublishStatus API. This is important because :

  • Providing the status in all scenarios, even when the content is published (STATUS == PUBLISHED), is critical to populate dashboards that use this explicit status to convey the health and other metrics of your integration.
  • If no content is published but the integration status isn't broken (STATUS == NOT_PUBLISHED), Google can avoid triggering alerts in the app health dashboards. It confirms that content is not published due to an expected situation from the provider's standpoint.
  • It helps developers provide insights into when the data is published vs not.
  • Google may use the status codes to nudge the user to do certain actions in the app so they can see the app content or overcome it.

The list of eligible publish status codes are :

// Content is published
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.PUBLISHED,

// Content is not published as user is not signed in
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_REQUIRES_SIGN_IN,

// Content is not published as user is not subscribed
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_REQUIRES_SUBSCRIPTION,

// Content is not published as user location is ineligible
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_INELIGIBLE_LOCATION,

// Content is not published as there is no eligible content
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_NO_ELIGIBLE_CONTENT,

// Content is not published as the feature is disabled by the client
// Available in v1.3.1
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_FEATURE_DISABLED_BY_CLIENT,

// Content is not published as the feature due to a client error
// Available in v1.3.1
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_CLIENT_ERROR,

// Content is not published as the feature due to a service error
// Available in v1.3.1
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_SERVICE_ERROR,

// Content is not published due to some other reason
// Reach out to engage-developers@ before using this enum.
AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_OTHER

If the content is not published due to a user not logged in, Google would recommend publishing the Sign In Card. If for any reason providers are not able to publish the Sign In Card then we recommend calling the updatePublishStatus API with the status code NOT_PUBLISHED_REQUIRES_SIGN_IN

Kotlin


client.updatePublishStatus(
   PublishStatusRequest.Builder()
     .setStatusCode(AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_REQUIRES_SIGN_IN)
     .build())

Java


client.updatePublishStatus(
    new PublishStatusRequest.Builder()
        .setStatusCode(AppEngagePublishStatusCode.NOT_PUBLISHED_REQUIRES_SIGN_IN)
        .build());

deleteRecommendationClusters

This API is used to delete the content of Recommendation Clusters.

Kotlin


client.deleteRecommendationClusters()

Java


client.deleteRecommendationClusters();

When the service receives the request, it removes the existing data from the Recommendation Clusters. In case of an error, the entire request is rejected and the existing state is maintained.

deleteUserManagementCluster

This API is used to delete the content of UserAccountManagement Cluster.

Kotlin


client.deleteUserManagementCluster()

Java


client.deleteUserManagementCluster();

When the service receives the request, it removes the existing data from the UserAccountManagement Cluster. In case of an error, the entire request is rejected and the existing state is maintained.

deleteClusters

This API is used to delete the content of a given cluster type.

Kotlin


client.deleteClusters(
    DeleteClustersRequest.Builder()
      .addClusterType(ClusterType.TYPE_RECOMMENDATION)
      ...
      .build())

Java


client.deleteClusters(
            new DeleteClustersRequest.Builder()
                .addClusterType(ClusterType.TYPE_RECOMMENDATION)
                ...
                .build());

When the service receives the request, it removes the existing data from all clusters matching the specified cluster types. Clients can choose to pass one or many cluster types. In case of an error, the entire request is rejected and the existing state is maintained.

Error handling

It is highly recommended to listen to the task result from the publish APIs such that a follow-up action can be taken to recover and resubmit an successful task.

client.publishRecommendationClusters(
              new PublishRecommendationClustersRequest.Builder()
                  .addRecommendationCluster(...)
                  .build())
          .addOnCompleteListener(
              task -> {
                if (task.isSuccessful()) {
                  // do something
                } else {
                  Exception exception = task.getException();
                  if (exception instanceof AppEngageException) {
                    @AppEngageErrorCode
                    int errorCode = ((AppEngageException) exception).getErrorCode();
                    if (errorCode == AppEngageErrorCode.SERVICE_NOT_FOUND) {
                      // do something
                    }
                  }
                }
              });

The error is returned as an AppEngageException with the cause included as an error code.

Error code Note
SERVICE_NOT_FOUND The service is not available on the given device.
SERVICE_NOT_AVAILABLE The service is available on the given device, but it is not available at the time of the call (for example, it is explicitly disabled).
SERVICE_CALL_EXECUTION_FAILURE The task execution failed due to threading issues. In this case, it can be retried.
SERVICE_CALL_PERMISSION_DENIED The caller is not allowed to make the service call.
SERVICE_CALL_INVALID_ARGUMENT The request contains invalid data (for example, more than the allowed number of clusters).
SERVICE_CALL_INTERNAL There is an error on the service side.
SERVICE_CALL_RESOURCE_EXHAUSTED The service call is made too frequently.

Step 3: Handle broadcast intents

In addition to making publish content API calls through a job, it is also required to set up a BroadcastReceiver to receive the request for a content publish.

The goal of broadcast intents is mainly for app reactivation and forcing data sync. Broadcast intents are not designed to be sent very frequently. It is only triggered when the Engage Service determines the content might be stale (for example, a week old). That way, there is more confidence that the user can have a fresh content experience, even if the application has not been executed for a long period of time.

The BroadcastReceiver must be set up in the following two ways:

  • Dynamically register an instance of the BroadcastReceiver class using Context.registerReceiver(). This enables communication from applications that are still live in memory.
class AppEngageBroadcastReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {
// Trigger recommendation cluster publish when PUBLISH_RECOMMENDATION broadcast
// is received
}

public static void registerBroadcastReceivers(Context context) {

context = context.getApplicationContext();

// Register Recommendation Cluster Publish Intent
context.registerReceiver(new AppEngageBroadcastReceiver(),
new IntentFilter(com.google.android.engage.service.Intents.ACTION_PUBLISH_RECOMMENDATION));

}

  • Statically declare an implementation with the <receiver> tag in your AndroidManifest.xml file. This allows the application to receive broadcast intents when it is not running, and also allows the application to publish the content.
<application>
   <receiver
      android:name=".AppEngageBroadcastReceiver"
      android:exported="true"
      android:enabled="true">
      <intent-filter>
         <action android:name="com.google.android.engage.action.PUBLISH_RECOMMENDATION" />
      </intent-filter>
   </receiver>
</application>

The following intents will be sent by the service:

  • com.google.android.engage.action.PUBLISH_RECOMMENDATION It is recommended to start a publishRecommendationClusters call when receiving this intent.

Integration workflow

For a step-by-step guide on verifying your integration after it is complete, see Engage developer integration workflow.

FAQs

See Engage SDK Frequently Asked Questions for FAQs.

Contact

Please contact engage-developers@google.com if there are any questions during the integration process. Our team will reply as soon as possible.

Next steps

After completing this integration, your next steps are as follows:

  • Send an email to engage-developers@google.com and attach your integrated APK that is ready for testing by Google.
  • Google performs a verification and reviews internally to make sure the integration works as expected. If changes are needed, Google contacts you with any necessary details.
  • When testing is complete and no changes are needed, Google contacts you to notify you that you can start publishing the updated and integrated APK to the Play Store.
  • After Google has confirmed that your updated APK has been published to the Play Store, your Recommendation, clusters will be published and visible to users.