Technology

How Android and Google Play are changing in India following antitrust ruling

Google announced today how Android and the Play Store will change to comply with recent regulatory rulings in India.

Android users will be able to “choose their default search engine via a choice screen.” This is similar to Europe, and “will soon start to appear when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.”

Google also said it “recently made changes to the Android installation flow and auto-updating capability for sideloaded apps and app stores while ensuring users understand the potential security risks.”

In the Play Store, User Choice Billing, which allows for alternate billing systems besides Google’s to appear in apps for (IAPs), “will be available to all apps and games starting next month.” Support for games is notable and hasn’t otherwise rolled out as part of User Choice Billing, which has focused on non-gaming apps. 

We are expanding our online resources such as Help Center articles and FAQs to provide more detail on services provided by Google Play and how and when Google Play’s service fee applies.

On the partner side, device OEMs will be able to “license individual Google apps for pre-installation” instead of having to agree to a bundle of services. 

Google is also “updating the Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes for partners to build non-compatible or forked variants.” In the early days of Android, this was heavily framed as preventing fragmentation and ensuring interoperability. 

Google considers these to be “significant changes” that will “require significant work” for itself, partners, OEMs, and developers. It will “continue to respectfully appeal certain aspects of the CCI’s [Competition Commission of India] decisions. 

Implementation of these changes across the ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work at our end and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers.

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