Android users in India can start using third-party billing services for apps and games by next month. They can also choose a different default search engine through a choice screen during setup.
While these rules apply only in India, some other regions have implemented similar rules.
It all started last year.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) slapped Google with a fine for restricting third-party payment services. It was also investigating the company for other anti-competitive behavior.
After the Supreme Court rejected Google’s plea to block CCI’s orders, the company must change its agreements with phone makers and relax its rules for users.
For smartphone makers, they can license individual Google apps to preinstall on the devices they ship.
Back then, makers had to bundle the whole Google suite.
Google will continue to appeal CCI’s decision, but for now it is working on implementing the following changes:
- OEMs to license individual Google apps for preinstallation on their devices.
- Android users to customize their devices to suit their preferences. Indian users will have the option to choose a default search engine via a choice screen. It 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.
“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,” Google said on Wednesday.
“Our commitment to Indian users and the country’s digital transformation stands undeterred.”
A few days ago, Google agreed to allow third-party app stores to be listed on the Google Play Store, still under duress from the CCI.