Google has outlined the changes it has made to its developer policies. The company has committed to making it easier to use third-party app stores on Android 12.
The announcement addresses recent concerns and issues with Android app development, including a struggle with alternative in-app payment systems and challenges facing businesses moving to the Internet due to COVID-19.
Android users can already install apps from third-party stores such as the Samsung Galaxy Store. In response to developer feedback, Google says it will add features to next year’s version of Android 12 that “will make it easier for users to use other app stores on their devices, without compromising the security measures Android has in place. to endanger “. The company will publish more details about these changes in the future.
On the contrary, Google is not relaxing its control over in-app payments for Play Store apps. The company says that “all developers who sell digital products in their apps should use Google Play’s billing system,” and is updating payment policies to clarify this. Applications that are not currently using the system for digital products must add it by September 30, 2021.
This has become a major mainstay for Epic Games, who dropped this game from the Play Store after adding support for an alternative billing method to its game called Fortnite last August. Fortnite is currently only available on third-party stores and Epic’s website, and Google doesn’t seem to be taking a step back. An example referring specifically to Fortnite is that “a developer and Google can distribute on the Android platform, even though the developer cannot agree on the developer’s terms”.
There is one particularly complex category of in-app purchases: companies that started selling ‘virtual’ versions of their normally non-digital products to users during the coronavirus outbreak. These companies, including Airbnb and ClassPass, had complained that they were being asked to pay new service fees on iOS.
Apple has begun to waive these fees in some cases, and Google says these companies won’t need to use Android’s Google Play billing for the foreseeable future. “We know that the global pandemic has led many companies to move their physical businesses to digital and that the masses must overcome challenges such as attracting customers in new ways, such as moving personal experiences and classes online.” said. “In the next 12 months, these companies are not required to comply with our payment policies, and we will reassess the situation in the coming year.”