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Google Announces Changes To Developer Policies, Says Third-Party App Stores Will Be Easier To Use On Android 12

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Google has announced new changes to its developer policies. Biggest of them all is a promise to make using third-party app stores easier on Android 12.

 

The changes address recent concerns around Android app development. This includes disputes over alternate in-app payment systems and difficulties for businesses moving online due to COVID-19.

 

Although Android users can already install apps via third-party stores like Samsung’s Galaxy Store; Google says that it’s adding features to next year’s Android 12 release that will make it even easier for people to use third-party app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place. This is in response to developer feedback. The company adds that it will release more details on the coming changes in the future.

 

However, Google is not changing its policies regarding in-app payments for Play Store apps. It says, “all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system”.

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To drive home the point, Google is adjusting the language in its payment policy to make that clear. Any app that’s not already using its billing system for digital goods must add it by 30th September 2021.

 

Fortnite was removed from the Play Store in August 2020 after the game’s developers, Epic, added support for an alternate billing method. The game is now only available through third-party stores and Epic’s website. However, Google is not relaxing its stance. The company even references Fortnite as an example of how, “even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform.”

 

For businesses that have had to shift to virtual products from their normal in-person services due to the pandemic, Google is relaxing its billing policies for them.

 

We recognize that the global pandemic has resulted in many businesses having to navigate the challenges of moving their physical business to digital and engaging audiences customers in a new way, for example, moving in-person experiences and classes online. For the next 12 months, these businesses will not need to comply with our payments policy, and we will continue to reassess the situation over the next year,” it says.

 

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