Google blocks Facebook-like non-Play store app updates for Android

Remember when Facebook updated its Android app, but not through the Google Play Store? Well, Google does, and now the search giant has updated the Play Store such that no app can roll out updates without using the Store's official update mechanism.

Google has made certain amendments to the terms and conditions attached to the Play Store and there is now much more clarity on how things will go forward from here on.

To ensure no other developers try to circumvent the Play Store, Google has clearly made a mention of this new condition in the "Dangerous Products" section. "An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism," Google says.


No more naughty updates!


The company behind Android had previously said that "applications that cause users to unknowingly download or install applications from sources outside of Google Play," are harmful and will be banned.

In March, Facebook had bypassed the Google Play Store and started prompting users to download an update to its app (Build 141046) without having to go through the Play Store. Once downloaded, the APK would install like any other Android app, but the notification for the update could not be cleared by users, which prompted many to think it was some form of malware.

In its defence, Facebook had said that the unique update process was to inform users who didn’t use the official Play Store to get the app for the world’s largest social network. These users obviously have no other way but to rely on Facebook’s notifications to know when an update has happened. But now that Google has made it pretty clear that such a thing is not possible, those users will have to continue looking for APKs of newer versions to get the latest app.

For the last month or so, Google has been sprucing up the Play Store by removing more than 60,000 low-quality apps, bumping off games for spamming and even changing the interface and look of the Play Store. The latest build 4.0.26 brings a much improved Play Store with more emphasis on app visuals and a clear category demarcation in search results.

Published Date: Apr 27, 2013 18:57 PM | Updated Date: Apr 27, 2013 18:57 PM