Google makes changes to Android and Google Play in India

Google, the search engine giant, announced significant changes to Android and Google Play in India. This follows the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s recent directives for Android and Play.
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Implementation of 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, Google India said in a blog post.

Some key changes on platforms and business in India:

OEMs will be able to license individual Google apps for pre-installation on their devices.

Android users have always been able to customize their devices to suit their preferences. Indian users will now have the option to choose their default search engine via a choice screen that will soon start to appear when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.

We’re updating the Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes for partners to build non-compatible or forked variants.

User choice billing will be available to all apps and games starting next month. Through user choice billing, developers can offer users the option to choose an alternative billing system alongside Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.

Android has always supported the installation of apps from a variety of sources, including via sideloading, which involves app downloads directly from a developer’s website. We 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.

Google is expanding 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.

Through Android, Google has contributed significantly to the mobile ecosystem by giving OEMs choice and flexibility, offering baseline compatibility for developers that has allowed them to scale their services across devices.

This has helped local developers build successful businesses and find global audiences for their apps and games resulting in a 150 percent increase in time spent by users outside India in 2021 compared to 2019 on Google Play, the technology giant said.