Updates to Android and Google Play in India
At Google, we have been privileged to play a part in India’s embrace of technology to improve lives in three key ways: bringing access to affordable devices, building helpful and secure products to meet the evolving needs of Indian users, and partnering with India's vibrant developer community to grow and reach a global audience.
We take our commitment to comply with local laws and regulations in India seriously. The Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s recent directives for Android and Play require us to make significant changes for India, and today we’ve informed the CCI of how we will be complying with their directives.
We continue to respectfully appeal certain aspects of the CCI’s decisions and will champion our core principles of openness, expanding user choice, providing transparency and maintaining safety and security that have served the interests of the larger ecosystem.
However, we are making some changes as required by the CCI’s directives. 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.
Here are some key changes we’ll make to our 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.
- 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.
Our commitment to Indian users and the country’s digital transformation stands undeterred. Through Android, Google has contributed significantly to the mobile ecosystem by giving OEMs unprecedented choice and flexibility, offering baseline compatibility for developers that has allowed them to scale their services across devices, and ensuring a safe, secure, and trusted platform for users in India and around the world.
This has helped local developers build successful businesses and find global audiences for their apps and games resulting in a 150% increase in time spent by users outside India in 2021 compared to 2019 on Google Play. We believe technology can help unlock opportunities in core areas of the Indian economy and we look forward to continuing to partner in this journey.