Google has obviously been watching the antics of Facebook over the last month or so very closely because they’ve updated the Google Play content policies page to remind developers that any updates to apps should only be updated via Google Play not through their own inbuilt native mechanisms. In a note added to the top of the Google Play Developer Console they’ve put the reminder front and center of devs about to upload new or updated APKs to Google Play.
This update to Play store policies certainly seems to be aimed at Facebook, after another update was pushed to the Facebook Home app this morning outside the Google Play infrastructure, as noted by Modaco’s Paul Obrien :
Another out of Play Store Facebook update? twitter.com/PaulOBrien/sta…
— Paul O’Brien (@PaulOBrien) April 25, 2013
Google certainly does need to reign in this type of update path, with a large corporation like Facebook seemingly ignoring the rules set down by Google for app updates, it would seem that other developers could also look to incorporate this type of mechanism into their own apps and possibly introducing Malware that could not be scanned for by the Bouncer module which already automatically checks apps and updates uploaded to Google Play.
With Google aiming to make the Play Store safer by reigning in rogue app developers recently, this move would seemingly close another loophole in the system. We can now expect to see a large amount of commentary on the perceived closing of Googles ‘Open’ eco-system, although it would be timely to remember that while Android remains open the Play store is definitely considered a GApp and devices and manufacturers must be certified to gain access to it.
Should Google allow developers to update their apps outside of the Play Store?